July 31, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I admit that I don't discuss women or sex in this blog much. This is only because there isn't much to discuss. I haven't talked to, kissed, or done anything else with a woman in over a year. Ok, I've spoken to women when I've bought something at a store and a lady rang me up, but outside of these types of interactions there's been nothing worth mentioning. I'm like a camel. I can go for years without it which is kind of a waste because I'm completely single and think about it just as much as any other guy. Sex on a regular basis is very healthy, on a lot of levels, physical, mental, emotional, etc. It took me a long time to realize this, mostly because of my stuffy, conservative, Irish Catholic upbringing. Once I finally shed those damaging chains, I still didn't go out and start sleeping with a lot of women. For me to even learn how sex is good for one's mental well-being, I had to go through a living hell in order to consider anything other than how I was raised. This is how I usually learn most life-changing lessons. Suffer long enough until it's either going to cost me my life or I'm going to make a change. When all one has is their beliefs, they hang on to them pretty tight, right or wrong, good or bad. It's the blind spots that get us. The bad habits or behaviors that have been around the longest. For a person who loves to learn and grow, blind spots are the hardest areas to improve on because we often don't even realize we're over looking something. The mind is a creature of habit. The faster it operates the easier it is to completely miss something and, in this day and age, we are living at the fastest pace of life in the history of human existence. This is why I force myself to turn off my phone on a daily basis.
Technology can be good or bad depending on how it's used. In the last 100 years, we were given the ability to actually speak to someone who is not here. They could literally be somewhere else on the planet, yet with this technology we could still have a conversation with them. This is truly amazing. Now, we can even see them while we're talking to them. If we don't want to or don't have the chance to talk to them, we can still send them our thoughts with a text message, but pay close attention to what has happen. Has this become an advantage or a crutch? Many people can't even be present long enough to type whole words. "Are" becomes "r". "You " becomes "u". Or if this isn't fast enough, we can actually speak into the device and it will type the words for us. The worst is if we can't even respond in a human way to one of these messages that we have received, we can tap a button and the device will immediately send the person's words back to them with an automated response attached. It's almost like someone or something doesn't want us to slow down. This isn't good. We only hurry when we don't want to be somewhere. That somewhere has become here and now. It has become actual life, rather than the ones we're living in our heads.
Ok, back to sex and women. The other reason I haven't had an ounce of feminine energy in my life in a long time is because I'm too picky. The reason I'm mentioning this, now, is because I almost texted my ex, this morning. I shouldn't even call her that. We were never officially boyfriend and girlfriend. It lasted about a year and a half, but I told her before we even "hung out" for the first time that I was only looking for new friends which, believe it or not, was true. However, she's a smoke show and I'm only human so when you haven't gotten any in years and the most beautiful creature you've ever seen takes her clothes off and climbs into bed with you there's only so much you can do. We were both single consenting adults. Why shouldn't we? That's what we told ourselves.
Anyways, I haven't seen her in over a year, but still think about her a lot, like everyday. That's just because I'm a lonely, ol'fashioned sap. I don't deserve any sympathy. I was the one who ended it. She was into the whole poly thing and I'm not. She has a child with a guy she never even sees who lives in another part of the country except for maybe once a year. The last time I spoke to her on the phone, she invited me to a party she was having. It was to start with dancing then a group "cuddle session" and end with a hot sauna, clothing optional. I told her "No, thanks" that it was just not my scene. Her lifestyle was too unstable for me to get involved with. She cried a lot during the time I knew her and not the good kind of crying. I have a strict no drama policy in my life and the polyamorous fad going on, right now, is a drama swamp that I have no desire getting stuck in, no matter how attractive she is. To me, it's just another indication of how lost we are as a culture, at the moment. Everyone's looking for love in all the wrong places.
I believe that trust is one of the most important components to a successful relationship. How can you trust someone if they might sleep with the next hot person of the opposite sex who comes along, or of the same sex? If you're just having fun and it's not serious, then have it, I guess, but with all the std's out there, the risk isn't worth the reward, in my opinion. It's just a fiasco waiting to happen. She hadn't mentioned the poly thing until the next morning after she'd gotten me into bed which already made me question whether it would be wise to trust her with my heart. Luckily, I'm a freak of nature when it comes to will power and nothing happened, that first night, except a whole lot of touching.
But, I knew that it was just a matter of time until something did. Like I said, we were both single and neither of us had been with anyone in years so, on her suggestion, it would be a shame if we missed out on some good sex even if we weren't going to become a couple. She wasn't polyamorous while we were together. I told her if that was what she wanted to do that I was totally fine with it, but I'm very protective of my health and body so we'd both have to agree to let the other person know BEFORE they did anything with anyone else and to get tested before we did anything with each other, unless we could assure the other person that we'd been tested since we'd been with anyone else, however long ago that was. Super romantic, right? I'd already gotten tested when we met because it was obviously a possibility and she went and got tested immediately after this conversation.
We met and it took it's course off and on for about a year and a half. We lived an hour away from each other and there was just too much crying and too much drama. She wanted more of a relationship than what we'd initially agreed upon, but she was, also, actively meeting other guys the whole time, just not sleeping with them, apparently. It was officially over between us when she invited me to the party so I'm guessing this has changed since then. I never judged her for this. I'm just not into that sort of thing. I like sex just as much as the next person, but I prefer to be a little more careful. The best way I can explain it is that it's like I'm walking around with a giant bundle of dynamite in my arms. It's probably best not to make any sudden moves and its definitely not a good idea to play with matches.
Unfortunately, this doesn't change the fact that I still think about her all the time even though I blocked her number on my phone after we said goodbye that night. I didn't feel great about doing it, but I had to separate myself from that behavior. After her last failed attempt at polyamory, she texted me a naked pic of herself laying in the grass. It was reasonably tasteful as far as naked pics go, but still not what I need to be seeing when I'm trying to distance myself from the situation. She could still email me if she ever needed to get in touch. I unblocked her a couple months ago. Like I'm sure many people do when they're feeling pathetic, I googled her name, last night, and a bunch of photos came up on one of those stock photo websites for celebrities and models. She's not either, but she could be. She's quite the environmentalist and was in the paper, years ago, for a peaceful protest she had started. Daisies in her hair, stretched out beautifully in a hammock, she looked like the poster child for a flower child. I was partly motivated to text her just to make sure the website was paying her royalties for using her photo. I'm not sure she even knows about it. I used to mention it to mr.Model when I'd randomly see him on a poster or a magazine because that's his livelihood and sometimes companies didn't tell him, or pay him when they used his image. I had my 15 min. of fame, years ago, and once in a while I'd see myself on tv without knowing about it and I didn't really like that, but maybe that's just me rationalizing it as an excuse to contact her. The sight of a beautiful woman touches a man in his soul. If he can't handle his emotions, this could become a problem. And, an intelligent woman wants to be valued for more than just her looks. Otherwise, I'm no different than any other guy who only wants to sleep with her. Despite the difference in our lifestyles, she's extremely intelligent. We're just on different paths based on different experiences. Had I contacted her, it should have been because I had something to give, rather than looking for something to take. I guess that's why I decided to write about it. It takes a village for us to be completely whole so if you don't have one you better create the next best thing.
Rode to mr.Finance's to get my new solar panel (again). This one turned out to be sweet. Exactly what I was hoping for. Jumped in the pool. Getting to cool off after riding my bike over there on a hot day makes me feel pretty lucky. His oldest son was home. He had to work at the golf course for a few hours. They have one built right into their neighborhood. Then, he was driving back to the marina, hopping in the boat and cruising back to Saquish. He showed me a bunch of pics on his phone of all the fish they caught this morning. Sounds like they're having a great time. He left the truck and took his audi to the course (it's a big neighborhood). His dad made sure to give me a set of keys to the truck before going out to the peninsula. I thought about grabbing it while I was there to get a bunch of errands done, like food shopping. I'm down to my last bowl of cereal. Rode my bike back to the property. Picked up a yogurt and a couple apples at the gas station mini-mart on the way back. Finished mounting the battery on the trailer and made a plastic cover and painted it. It's not good for batteries to sit in direct sunlight. Came out good, not store bought, but it looks like it, at first glance. Finished the low profile tool box which fits into the floor of the trailer, yesterday. I'll ride into town and go food shopping in the morning.
August 2, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
Put in about 25 leisurely miles on the bike doing errands, yesterday. I got a lot done, but I, also, screwed up a bunch of times and I'm realizing that this is not working. "This" being my stubborn, scared form of living. I don't mean using the bike. That's great. My legs are feeling strong and I'm having fun with the little trailer. It was fairly hot, but I had an ice cold beverage in the little cooler whenever I wanted one, all day. The problem is I started the day with my head up my ass and it caused me to miss out on opportunities that could have been enjoyed.
My policy of keeping my phone off a lot of the time is a good one in terms of mental clarity and short term memory retention. Smartphones are going to be our mental demise if we're not careful. The scary part is it's already so bad that most people don't even realize how scatter-brained they've become. Not being aware of how you're behaving is kind of a characteristic of being scatter-brained. My ability to focus and remember things is night and day since I started turning my phone off more, but if I'm doing it for the wrong reasons it can, also, be counterproductive.
Mental clarity is not the only reason I keep my phone off. The fact is I started doing it long before the invention of smartphones. I used to turn my little flip phone off, too, but for a very different reason. It's nothing knew. It's the same old bull sh*t reason I do everything; to combat loneliness. The world can't reject me, if I reject it, first. And honestly, it works like a charm. The pain that I don't matter to anyone is greatly lessened, as lame as that sounds. Unfortunately, because I had my phone off -well, it was in airplane mode which allows me to still listen to music or an audiobook without being online or having cell service, I didn't receive mr.Fireman's text regarding the plans we'd made the night before. I told him that I'd be in Marshfield doing errands and that we should grab lunch seeing as I hadn't seen him in a while and I'm most likely leaving soon. Plus, he's leaving for Ireland, next week. He sent me a text @10 am telling me that he was at the library studying for a promotion and he'd be there most of the day so whenever I wanted to meet for lunch to just let him know. I never got it because my friggin phone was in airplane mode. The library is in Pembroke only 4 miles from the property. I basically pedaled right past it on my way to Marshfield. I finally turned my phone on around 12:15 to check in with him and that's when I realized that I'm an idiot. He'd sent me another text at 11:30 saying that he was starving and when did I want to eat. I immediately called him, but he'd already gotten food. Then I got another text from mr.Model who was getting off a whale watching cruise that he'd taken his mother and nephew on in Plymouth which is only the next town over from Kingston. Had I not screwed the pooch regarding my plans with mr.Fireman, I could have met him, first, finished my errands then met mr.Model in the afternoon. Instead, I did my errands then rode my bike to mr.Fireman's house thinking I could, at least, catch him when he got back from the library, but when it got to be 4:30, I realized this wasn't going to happen so I headed back to the property 3 towns away. He texted me and told me to take his truck which I could have used to meet mr.Model in Plymouth, but they were heading back to New Bedford by then. Nice going, genius.
It's not the end of the world. They were just casual meet-ups, but when your biggest problem in life is loneliness and isolation and you drop the ball twice in one day with the few friends you have, it's time to look at how you're doing things. Mr.Finance called, too, and stopped by the property while I was gone riding around in circles. I used to turn my phone on for a few minutes in the morning then keep it off until lunch time, check my messages, then turn it off, again, until dinnertime, but the pain had gotten so bad that I just said "Eff it, I'll keep my phone off all day long unless I need to contact someone." Going back to this previous routine will help me not drop the ball like I did, today. At least, my legs are getting stronger and I had cold drinks in the cooler -donkey. I salvaged the day by stopping by mr.Lobsterman's house on my way home. I'd passed it in the morning on my way to downtown Marshfield, but he was out fishing. His truck was in the driveway, this time, so I pulled in. He was psyched to see me and gave me a big hug, sweaty t-shirt and all. The day wasn't all bad.
I rolled down the wooded driveway just as it was getting dark and unplugged the new solar panel laying on the ground by my front door which worked great while I was gone and charged the little battery right up. I should get some Christmas lights for the bunkhouse and plug them in at night. They'd probably brighten the place up a little more than the one oil lamp I use.
Even when people are trying to help us the walls that we've put up to protect our hearts prevent us from receiving it. Hearts don't put up walls. Our minds do because that's their job. Our minds are our little generals. It's their job to protect us, figure stuff out, execute strategies, etc. and they're amazing at their jobs. They just shouldn't be running our lives. They're not qualified. They can't see the big picture, only small sections of it. They're only amazing at what they're designed to do. Our hearts job is to remain open at all times which is pretty much the scariest thing in the world to do because though it allows us to experience the highest highs, this, also, makes it possible for us to experience the lowest lows and this isn't fun especially when you're alone. But, this is the biggest challenge to every single one of us, a challenge the mind itself will even try to dissuade us from attempting because it largely operates on fear. The heart operates on love. Which one do you want to live by? Obviously, this is the question I need to be asking myself, not anyone else...as touchy feely as this sounds.
In a lot of ways, my dumbass-ness comes down to codependency which is a misleading application of the term, but, nonetheless, accurate. How can someone who lives entirely alone be codependent on anyone? I'm not going into the boring redundant details as to how I found myself alone, but once a person does, every possible relationship, whether work, romantic or friendship, they have is going to be a codependent one because that relationship is the only one they have, at the moment. There's not enough consistency for them to experience it any other way. This makes it hard to start anywhere because if a person is trying to be a grounded, well-adjusted human being, they're going to fight every urge to put any type of unrealistic expectation on any relationship. As a result, I try to have an unconditional approach to every situation I enter which over the years has evolved into the habit of completely ignoring even my most basic needs. This is why hitting the road is always attractive to me because on the road no.1, I have to simplify life down to the most basic level and no.2, I have to rely completely on myself.
I read an amazing book recently. In fact, since finishing it, I downloaded a copy and have been listening to it, again, when I'm riding the bike or doing projects in the workshop. I discovered it by asking my friends in VT when I was up there to list their top 3 must-read books of all time as a way for us to get to know each other better. First on her list of my friend who bought the land was The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff published in 1975. I can't believe I never heard of it, until now. I've almost been tempted to paint the title on the side of my trailer (not really). It reconfirmed so many beliefs and suspicions I already had, but spells them out much clearer, as well as, adding more vital information to the reader's perspective of themselves and the world they live in. I'm so glad I got the chance to read it before ever having children. This might be why it's not as popular as I'd expect. It completely uproots traditional American child rearing practices making it, almost, impossible for parents and professionals to admit their mistake, sadly at the price of future generations. I've recommended it to a few friends, but warned them, ahead of time, that it could be alarming. There's nothing at all horrific or disturbing in the book. What's horrific and disturbing is how we treat one another, especially children, in the world we've made that has been deemed acceptable. She's like the Jane Goodall of parenting and healthy community development. Sadly, miss Liedloff passed away in 2011 at the age of 84, but I'm sure her work has been carried on by others in the field of child development. It would be impossible to overlook such a wealth of information, if a person wanted to be a good parent or childcare professional, but you certainly don't have to be a parent to benefit from what the book has to offer.
For me, the road and the natural world have been the only two consistent relationships I've ever had. Right now, I need to make a change. I needed to make it 10 years ago. At the moment, I need to make a decision about what I'm going to do next. My solution was, big surprise, to hit the road in order to clear my head and think about it. It's the closest thing I can do to manifest an actual conversation with another person and my body craves physical exertion. It'll get me out of this rut, out of my head and into the world even if it seems like a weird or impractical way to live. When I'm out in the world, I'm accessible to fate or happenstance a lot more than I am isolating on a piece of land all by myself. Fate and happenstance are just my layman terms for "God", for lack of a better word. As I've mentioned many times, I'm not religious, but I believe there's truth in the statement "where two or three are gathered...I am in their midst" Mathew 18:20. However, it seems like an outlandish way to decide whether to join forces with my new friends in VT or remain solo suffering through each day. I guess I'd rather suffer physically on the road than mentally in a stagnant life. But, I do have other choices. I guess I'm just scared to make one that involves other people because I don't want to be codependent on anyone. At least, I've got plenty of off the grid electricity, now, to ramble on, rehash and stall about the decision writing about it here.
August 5, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
Spent the day on Saquish, yesterday. I've felt bad about not visiting mr.Finance out there, which he'd kill me if he found out that's why I went out, but it's true. I used to spend summers out there as a kid and it brings back memories. I texted him ahead of time that I was going to paddle out to make sure they'd be there. He happened to be home for the night so, instead, we headed out together first thing in the morning to catch the right tide. The Jones River where he keeps his boat gets too shallow to navigate for anything bigger than a dingy at low tide. It was nice to see everyone. It was in the 90's all day so being on the ocean was much cooler. Lots of swimming. We took the boat to Plymouth harbor and grabbed lunch which was fun.
Grabbed lunch with mr.Fireman, today. I'm going to dogsit for him while their in Ireland seeing as I'm still here. I wrote a "mission statement", last night, and I'm going to post it in a few farming and intentional community websites I've used in the past. I'm, also, going to reply to an email I got from a woman, last summer, in response to something I wrote who already lives in a small farming community in Missouri where they're looking for the right kind of people to join them to give myself another possible destination other than VT.
January 7, 2022, Damon's Point, Marshfield, Massachusetts
It hasn't been an easy first week of the new year, but I'm eager for a fresh start. It started off rough with a sleepless and cold New Year's eve in the driver's seat of the truck. Don't even ask about Christmas Eve. I broke down on the side of the road and had to crawl under the truck in the dark and work on it with cars whizzing by my head, but I still managed to visit a couple different friends and spend a some time with people. With a hard decision on Jan.1st not to go on a spur of the moment road trip to FL with my cousin and some hard work on my friend's property, I did a lot of cleaning then installed a wood stove in the bunkhouse to have a warm fire by the end of the first day of the new year so that was very rewarding. Having heat in the winter is a gamechanger. Duh. Hopefully, this is indicative of the entire year to come, start off a little bumpy, but end tremendously well. All the things I've learned in the past year, especially in the past few months as a result of my accident have been life-altering and, now, that my body has healed and I'm able to be my hardworking self, again, I can hopefully put these new lessons to good practice. The key is to not forget them by going back to my old ways and relying on my ability to white-knuckle it by taking my body for granted now that I'm healthy. I've got to do things differently if I'm ever going to amount to something.
I'm still without any permanent home base. The property, which is 9 acres, is where most of my stuff is, tools, clothes, sailboat, etc. My friend, mr.Finance, has owned it for 20yrs, but wasn't able to build his dream house on it like he intended years ago because the man he bought it from lied about it being a buildable lot. He tried to take the guy to court, but it was a big mess and justice did not prevail because the courts would not hold the man accountable. My friend is happy that such a frustrating experience is, at least, having even a little bit of a positive outcome. We had to take 5 truck loads of trash to the dump to even get started. The property has 3 small outbuildings on it that my friend mistakenly let some guy he knew store some stuff in and this guy turned out to be a hoarder. This week I finished cleaning out the last of the buildings and built racks to store lumber and organize tools in the building we're calling "the shop." My friend cleared out a small stand of young saplings with his chainsaw at the far edge of the property that might possibly be a good spot for a camper temporarily until I can either build a tiny house or renovate the bunkhouse. He'd much rather be working outside with his hands rain or shine than at a desk in the world of high finances.
The land which is adjacent to an abandoned cranberry bog is somewhat precariously situated because it abuts the backyard of a few suburban homes where people have gotten accustomed over the years to the land not being used inclining some of these neighbors to think of it as an extension of their own backyard so they're frequently walking through the area where I'm working with their family and pets, not to mention a group of teenagers from the nearby high school who, also, like to frequent the property. None of them seem to realize that it would be the same as me walking through their front yard using it like it's my own. I could just tell of them to stop, but I'm trying to be neighborly and let them continue to use the land because I know what it's like to want to get away from the crowdedness of the area and enjoy nature, though some of the teenagers who I believe were using it as a place to smoke pot, unfortunately, are going to have to find someplace else to do that. The result, however, is that sleeping there has been tricky because I'm embarrassed about people knowing I sleep in my truck. They often walk through early in the morning or after dark only a few feet from my window so I've had to duck down to not be seen. It's absolutely ridiculous, but the property is my best option, right now. The farm in southern Maine sent me a written proposal of the role they'd like for me to play on their farm which was part managerial and part all around foreman, but they were offering less than I was making on the farm I just finished the season at which was already far below what I'm worth so I had to decline.
The bunk house which was originally used as housing for the migrant workers on the crandberry bog isn't insulated so it will need to be, as well as stripped and re-sided, before it can be a viable place to live. There's no power or running water on the property, not that I've ever needed such amenities. There's a number of creeks and wetlands so I've got plenty of water available. I heated up some on the wood stove and had a cowboy tub by the fire, yesterday, which was relaxing. If I just had a little privacy, things would be a lot better, but the flip-side is I'm not spending nearly as much time alone. My two friends, mr.Finance and mr.Fire Captain, live very different lives than me and don't really understand why I've chosen to live like I have, but we still have a lot of laughs when we're able to get together. They've both been out to the property in the last week or so. They're busy with their lives and families so I can't expect to see them much, now, that the holidays are over and every one's gone back to work, but it reminds me what a difference getting to see people makes.
January 8, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
Made it back to the property just before dark. We finally got hit with some snow this winter so I was up in Marshfield, yesterday, to plow my father's driveway and my friend's down the road and spent the night to visit with them. It's a winter wonderland here. The branches of the pine trees hang heavy with their thick frozen frosting pulling them almost to the ground. I see from the tracks passing by the front door of the bunk house that my neighbors have come through with their dogs. I can hear them from across the bog sledding in their backyard. It's nice that they do stuff as a family and are having fun.
I won't start a fire, tonight. I've only got a little firewood left so I'll save it for, tomorrow, when I can round up a lot more with the chainsaw. There's plenty of dead trees here in the woods. The truck's plenty warm from driving here to keep me cozy.
January 12, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
It's 8:30pm and I'm typing by candlelight. I've had a fire going since this afternoon so the bunkhouse is fairly warm. With no insulation, it never gets super warm, but it's still plenty comfortable enough. I've been working in here building a chicken coop all evening. I'm just building the parts. I'll assemble all the sections outside. It's actually going to be a chicken tractor, a chicken coop on wheels, so I can move it around the property or take it with me when I leave. I'm usually in bed, by now, but I didn't want to stop working and leave the ambience of the fire and oil lamp. I've been making most of my cuts with the hand saw so it's quiet and peaceful. It seemed a little overkill to fire up the generator to run power tools. I had peanut-butter and ice tea lemonade for dinner and it was fine. I'll go food shopping, tomorrow, with what little money I have left. I'm healthy, again, so I could've gotten a job, by now, but I'm trying to tough it out and work for myself. I sold my car and my mountain bike to pay bills. It wasn't easy. I really liked that bike and having a second vehicle is a valuable asset when flying solo, but I needed the money. If the chicken tractor comes out good, I'm going to build more and sell them to put a few bucks in my pocket until I get some bigger projects off the ground -not to mention get some chickens for eggs. I've already got the lumber. I might as well. That's one thing about building stuff all the time, you accumulate extra materials with every project so, at this point, I've got a mini-lumber yard stock-piled in the shop enough for a few coops.
January 18, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I woke up eager to get to work. It's how I wake up every morning. Maybe eager isn't the right word. Anxious might be more like it. A lot of times, I'll even forget to eat then hours later I'll wonder why I'm still anxious. "That's not anxiety, genius. That's hunger." They are similar feelings, actually, both residing in the stomach area. Anyways, I am eager, or anxious, to get to work on finishing the chicken coop so I can paint it and sell it. All I have left is my sailboat, truck and tools. The other night, mr.Fire Captain and I got a chance to hang out. His family was up in VT, but he had to work. When he go out, he had some free time so he drove over to the property where I've been staying. As we were talking, I asked him his opinion on whether he thought I should sell my boat. I have very minimal bills, but I have a few and I don't like being stressed out about money so selling it would alleviate this. I really like my sailboat, but I can always get another one when I'm in the clear. That's when he remembered a new app his buddy uses. It's basically like uber for handymen. Sorry, handythem. Customers can use it to hire someone to do odd jobs around their house so people who are good at fixing stuff can log in whenever they want and pick whatever jobs are in their area. I might try it. I've heard of these types of services before and there's quite a few of them, now, but never tried one. I usually post my own ad on a farming site I use. I'll look into it, later today, but this isn't why I didn't bundled up and rush outside to start working like I often do.
The whole benefit of being in a quiet setting surrounded by nature, well, mostly surrounded -I'm still in the suburbs, technically, is that I can live at a more natural pace. One of the biggest lessons I learned years ago was that I needed to slow down. We all need to learn how to slow down. Walking is a great catalyst for this and I've done a lot. I've been thinking about this more and more, lately, because as precarious as my situation is, at the moment, the fact that I can dictate my pace of life while trying to improve my situation has made all the difference in the world. The more stressful the conditions, the calmer my thought process has become. I've even been able to manage my hunger because like I said hunger and anxiousness are very similar feelings and it's easy for a person to mistake one for the other. Forgetting to eat is not the same as choosing not to eat. One is a result of absent-mindedness and the other a result of presence of mind. Everything comes down to being present so when the circumstances become more dire, it's actually easier, for me, to slow down because I know how vital my decisions are. When things are go easy and comfortable is when I'm more apt to get sloppy. One might think it would be just the opposite thinking I should hurry up and go get another job, now that my ribs are healed, myself included, but hurrying is rarely a good idea with the exception of maybe ambulances and armageddon. Maybe that's why there are so many movies about one and the nightly news is filled with the other because certain people don't want us slowing down. Then, they couldn't take advantage of us so easily.
Food, water and shelter. These are our basic necessities and it's hard to slow down, i.e. not be anxious, when these needs aren't met, especially if they haven't been met in a long time. One other need that is not on this list that should be which I've recently and painfully had to accept is community. It's not that I've never believed in community. I always have, but I haven't incorporated community into my life enough. Thinking something and doing something are not the same thing. Incorporating community into one's life is not as easy as it sounds especially in a world that's trying to keep us divided. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending how I look at it, my little accident a few months ago finally forced me to accept help from the few people I have in my life. This was the first step in creating community. Even though I've always believed in it and dreamed of creating it, I had to literally be forced to do start doing it when I had no other choice. I've always planned on going about it in a much different way, but it hasn't happened after all this time so maybe this was life, God or Mother Nature's way of deciding for me.
The handperson app had a catch. After you finish filling out all the info and give your soc.security number so they can do a background check, that's when they tell you it costs 25 bucks to use the app which just encouraged me to keep trying to work for myself.
January 22, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I have to be very careful about when I buy bananas, these days. Mine were black when I woke up, the other morning. I should've wrapped them in a sweatshirt or something before I fell asleep. That might have helped. They do not do well in sub-freezing temperatures and winter has definitely hit New England. I'm sure a lot of people, including myself, were wondering if it would ever come. It was so mild for so long, but we've had a few single digit days, lately. I've been using my firewood sparingly. Once I'm bundled up and working, I'm warm enough.
I joined a "church", last week. It's not a religious church, as contradictory as that sounds. People are allowed to choose their own definition of God, Buddha, Allah, Mother Nature or whatever other name they want to use. Some choose a religious God. Some don't. I don't, but I had to do something. I've always believed in something bigger than myself. My faith in it has kept me safe many times in my travels, but I can't keep spending so much time alone like I always have. A lot of people who get married and start a family doing whatever they have to in order to support them don't encounter this issue as much. The "doing whatever" part of that path has been something I wasn't willing to do. Hence, spending a mountain of time alone. Some of the guys I just met at the church were going out for some food afterwards and invited me. It was one of the best times I've had in a long time. It probably wasn't anything special to them, but it meant the world to me and gave me a glimpse of what life with other people in it could feel like. We had a lot of laughs, mostly at one another's expense -the best kind of humor. They still don't know much about me, yet, but there's still plenty to laugh at with.
*The police officer who stopped at 5am when I was walking to church to see where I was going and if I wanted a ride.
January 23, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
Had a quiet, but nice day rounding up firewood this afternoon. I've been using my wood supply sparingly so it was nice to get an aggressive fire going this evening and pull the galvanized water troth I got a tractor's supply up to the wood stove to take a cowboy tub. It was still pretty cold in the bunk house so it was a little hard to see the shampoo and conditioner bottles on the stool beside the tub only an arm's reach away because of all the steam, but the fire felt so good it was worth it. Living like this definitely makes a person appreciate the simple things in life. When I was done and dressed, I pulled a chair right up to the stove and let it warm me up completely. I almost broke out my guitar, but I figured I should do some writing instead. It's been a few days.
I've been preoccupied with finishing the first chicken tractor so much so that I haven't been able to justify doing anything else like getting more wood or even going skating with my friend and his boys, who are all hockey players, on a pond in their neighborhood when he offered, yesterday. I felt bad about declining, but I couldn't afford to "waste" the day playing when I have work to do. This is the story of my life. Just ask any friend I've ever had, or any girl friend. I'm such a workaholic, a drill sergeant, more like it. I need to stop being like this. It even affected my friend because he decided to come over to the property (which he owns) with me and burn some of the brush he's been cutting down instead of going skating. In my defense, there was a shortage of hockey skates because a bunch of the boys' friends were going, too, who didn't have skates so their extra pairs were needed. My buddy has his own equipment because he plays in a men's league a couple nights a week. He and I played against each other when were in high school, but I donated all my equipment to goodwill just before I left Alaska. I picked up a pair of used skates since getting back, but I have yet to use them. They're over in Marshfield. He couldn't get the burn pile going because the brush was too green, but, at least, the family dog had a blast. She's a German short hair and loves running around in the woods over here. Though I was tempted to keep working way past dark, I made it a point to drive to the rink, last night, to catch his youngest boy's hockey game. He's only a freshman, but dresses for varsity. Turns out they were playing Marshfield, my old school, so I saw a lot of old friends who, now, have kids who play. A couple of my friends are actually the coaches. I spent a huge portion of my childhood in that rink, but hadn't been there in probably 25 years. It almost doesn't even feel like my life anymore, but a strange dream of someone else's.
Tomorrow, I'm going to apologize to my buddy for not going skating. I'm an idiot. It would have been a blast, but I've been so stressed about running out of money that I've felt trapped with the only option being to work my way out of it. This has been my solution to every problem I've ever had. I, also, decided, last night, that I'm going to drive by the Salvation Army, tomorrow, and see if I can get a part-time job at their thrift store which isn't far from here. It won't pay anything, but it'll keep me from running out of money and it feels like I'd be doing something worthwhile in the process. Once, I get my first silly coop finished, money won't be an issue. If I can feel as good as I do on the inside under these circumstances, I've already made it in life. I just have nothing to show for out on the outside, yet, but if it's true, I will eventually and it will be built on something worthwhile.
February 3, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I had a cold walk home, last Monday night. The church I joined meets on certain evenings during the week as well as Sundays so a person can get more involved if they like. It wasn't the cold that made my walk unenjoyable. Early the other morning, it was well below freezing, but it was almost magical walking in the moonlight. A person's body will eventually warm up despite the temperature as long as a you're dressed properly and keep moving. It's the loneliness that made it hard, admittedly self-imposed. I walked out of the church as soon as the evening "service" was over. It's so hard to linger in a room full of people when I don't know anyone. A lot of the guys that I met the previous week weren't there and I hate feeling like a needy little bitch so I got out of there as soon as I could. I even stopped about a block away, looked back and thought about returning to try and socialize and meet new people, but what if it didn't work? Then it'd be even later and colder making the walk seem longer so I didn't risk it. Again, it's not the distance. It's only about 4 miles one way. I used to walk 30 a day on my cross-country trips. It's the mental isolation. If I believe I'm waking towards something good, it doesn't matter how far or how cold. It'll be easy, but when I'm walking into darkness with loneliness waiting for me, it's not very fun. I'm sure running on fumes financially is a huge contributor towards these feelings.
We got hit with a blizzard this weekend and I ended up plowing for a bunch of people as a result of mr.Finance's wife posting something on her fb page about their friend having a plow truck and is looking for new clients. I was furious when I found out that they had done this without talking to me, first, because I had told him weeks ago that I wasn't interested in doing it as a job. I've done it in the past and it's not worth it, but I kept how upset I was to myself because he and mr.Fireman are the only friends I have here and I can't afford to burn any bridges. It's not that I'd ever stop being friends with them, but when I only have two people in my life, it's best not to do anything to jeopardize these relationships until I get myself to a more stable place. I'm, actually, good at communication and confrontration, but an important component in the success of resolving misunderstandings is having an unconditional attitude to towards the person and the outcome. If you need them or need to be right, it's much harder to do this. I've lived a very independent life as a result of my background so needing others is very uncomfortable for me and I'm working on this. I'm much more comfortable being helpful or useful to others with no strings attached and I can't wait until I'm able to do this, again.
People, including myself, don't realize what something entails until they've actually done it themselves. Until they do, if they ever do, it's just an idea in their minds. There's countless examples of this like riding a motorcycle or a horse which looks much different when you see someone doing it from the actual experience of doing it yourself. Scuba diving, surfing, playing the guitar, even, riding a bike. The list is endless. We've all experienced the difference in seeing something done and actually learning how to do it ourselves, yet, we still, often, forget about this major difference when applying it to everything we see in the world. Why? For two reasons. Most of us live in a world of ideas, not reality, and, secondly, we're usually in a hurry. Plowing is just another example. People see the giant piece of metal attached to the front of a truck and they see how it can be lowered onto the ground and push the snow as the truck drives forward. Seems pretty simple and easy. They don't realize that before you can do this, you have to know where the driveway is so you don't plow over someone's rose bushes, rock wall, driveway lights, etc. You have to buy stakes and hammer them into the ground which by now is usually frozen. And, good luck finding stakes this time of year because they're usually sold out. I've used small pvc pipe and painted the ends orange if I couldn't find any then taken a piece of re-bar and hammered it into the ground, first, to create a hole for the pvc to fit into. You have to do this for every driveway you plow before it snows. This takes a day of driving around so now you're invested before it's even snowed, if it snows. When it does, you often have to plow each person's driveway twice, once in the morning so they can get to work because the town trucks create big snow banks at the end of people's driveways from plowing the street that they live on. Then you have to return when it finally stops snowing to plow them out, again. Don't worry. You'll get plenty of texts from each of the people asking you when you'll be there and when you're coming back.
If you're going to be a plow guy, or girl, you should really have two plows and two trucks because usually every storm something on your plow will break and the last thing you want is to be unable to keep plowing with a bunch of people depending on you. If something does break, you can go home and get your other truck or other plow and get back to work otherwise you'll be out there in the freezing cold trying to fix whatever it is with your fingers going numb, if it's even fixable. Forget about buying parts because the stores aren't open in the wee hours of the morning or in the evening when you're doing a lot of your plowing. You, also, have to re-wire the headlights on your truck to turn off and connect them to the headlights mounted to the top of the plow so you can plow in the dark or even drive on the roads at night because the plow blocks people from seeing the headlights on your truck. I never did this because I only got the plow to do my father's driveway which is where I kept it so I didn't need to drive on the road. If I was going to do a friend's driveway, I'd just drive over during the day. All this makes it a little more than sitting in a warm truck and pushing the snow out of the way.
She got a lot of responses. I should have just said "No", but I didn't want to disappoint them so I acquiesced to do four other driveways in addition to theirs still giving myself enough time to drive to Marshfield and do my father and mr.Fireman's, too. I pulled people out of snow banks along the road three times on my way from Kingston to Marshfield. Two days of plowing I think I made $105 (after subtracting gas money and the price of driveway stakes). Hardly worth the time, stress and wear and tear on my truck. Mr.Finance after hearing about my handyman app experience told me that he's got a bunch of projects around his house that he hasn't had time to get to that he'll pay me for which is a huge help in taking off the pressure. He's golfing in FL, at the moment, the bastard.
I was feeling a lot better this week and thought about walking to church, again, to replace the experience from last week, but I ended up having to drive because I ran out of time working on the coop every waking moment of the day before having to leave. It's coming along great. If I was a little smaller, I'd move into it. It's going to be fully insulated because happy chickens lay more eggs and I don't have the heart to make them bear the freezing temps of the winter without any protection. The one we had at the sled dog compound I worked at in Fairbanks, AK was warm even in the dead of winter with just one heat lamp because it was insulated so well. The one I'm building will, also, have a removable floor, two windows on either end of the roof and a big side door that can be opened to make it cooler in the hot humid days of summer. If I just wanted to slap something together to sell it in order to make money I could have done that a long time ago, but "the passage of time leaves but one standard. Quality." I heard that saying when I was a freshman in college. Not sure who said it, but it stuck with me.
Before going by the Salvation Army, I decided to try the youth home in Plymouth, again, that I reached out to about volunteering a couple years ago, but never heard back from them when I was living down here before. This time I applied for a part-time position they had posted on their website and heard back from them within minutes asking me to come in for an interview. I met with them, yesterday, morning and unfortunately was not impressed. The woman's office who interviewed me was a mess and I don't think she smiled once the entire time I was there. How do they expect to give these kids a chance to be happy in life if they, themselves, don't know how to be happy? I'm giving myself a day to think about it. There's other ways I can help kids. I think there's about 15 teenagers living there while the place, I'd guess, employs over 30 adults. This doesn't add up to me. This doesn't make it any easier to pass on the job. I adopted the belief that we are responsible for what we are aware of when I chose this path in life so the more we become aware of the more we become responsible for hence a lot of people tuning out or turning a blind eye to how things are in the world which is not an option for me. The place I'm going to create someday (or die trying) will address this problem and give kids a positive place to come, but in the meantime I've got to work on creating it...which may sound pretty ridiculous for someone in my position, but the reason I'm in this position is because I believe in this responsibility.
February 4, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I need to be aware of the knew lessons I've learned, lately, and new habits I'm trying to establish especially since it seems that I'm close to having things get a lot better. I read a great book the other day called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and it really helped me, but reading... well, actually, I listened to it, the first time, while I worked then looked it up online to order a hard copy so I can read it over and over. It's not very long, but whether reading or listening, a good book has two facets to it, the first being it gives a person a break from reality. It's an escape, but if it's going to be more than this then the person has to incorporate the lessons they learn from the book into their life. This is the second part. The four agreements are very simple.
1. Keep you word impeccable.
2. Don't take anything personal.
3. Never make assumptions.
4. Always do your best.
I think I can handle this. The book has a lot more to offer than just these four simple principles regarding their context as well as a deeper understanding of the world we live in, but they are the foundation it offers for improving one's life and they resonate with me.
I've, also, been trying to pray more. I've never had a lot of interest in prayer because I've always associated it with organized religion something I am very skeptical of, but through a number of books I've read over the years and my own personal pursuit in trying to plug myself into something greater than myself, I think I've finally been able to make some progress on this subject. Though I'm still spending my days and nights alone, the time I've gotten to spend with others in the last few months while making a conscious effort to not be around my immediate family, which unfortunately is not good for me, right now, has allowed me to recognize that prayer as I'm experiencing it, now, is finding a connection with something greater than myself that resides within me as well as outside me. I've always relied on my work ethic and dependability to find jobs, my intuition and instincts to make good decisions and keep me out of harms way, but deeper than this I'm recognizing that there's a part of me that is not me. It's within me and probably always has been and it just might be God. I certainly don't make all my organs do what they're supposed to do or heal my body when I get a bruise or cut. A part of me which I have no control over does these things. What other parts of me do I have no control over? Maybe God, for lack of a better word, has been so close, like right under my nose, that I've always looked past it unless it was screaming at me to listen so, now, I'm trying to connect to it before I even have a question or problem. Primarily because I'm still alone most of the time, I have to find a way to push through the loneliness until I make more friends, but if this all-knowing intelligence is inside me then maybe I'm not as alone as I've felt all these years. I don't know, but I figured I should write this down before I head out in the rain, today, and get some stuff done.
February 23, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
So much for praying as a way to cure loneliness. That didn't work by a long shot. I've had some rough moments in the last week. It was a nice idea though and worth giving it a shot. I'm not saying prayer doesn't work and I'm going to keep trying, but, for me, the only cure for loneliness is people. There's no magic trick to get around this. I'm sure there's a person in prison, right now, who relies on prayer to get them through the day and more power to them if it works. We all have to walk in our own shoes and everyone's situation is different. I have a buddy out in LA, mr.Music man, who always says "We're only as honest as our options." He's a brother, never knew his father, grew up in the projects and has never done drugs or drank a drop of alcohol. He didn't make the expression up, but there's a lot of truth to it. To over simplify the point, it just means everything's relative. I'm sure there's plenty of people doing a lot worse than me who would kill to be in the position I'm in. There's definitely plenty of people doing a lot better, but it's all how you look at it so that's what I'm trying to do. I may not have much, right now, but I'm, also, in a position where I can do something about this and build whatever I have on something I can trust. Not everyone can say this. I think I can see a light at the end of the tunnel, but I'm not 100% sure. Meeting new people and becoming more involved at "the church" is definitely helping, but I still have a long way to go, if I want to accomplish the things I've always planned on. First, I have to stabilize a way to make a meager income by my own means rather than just getting another job while continuing to be dependent on a dysfunctional system. If I can do this then I can do a lot more as a result.
I feel bad; I told mr.Finance when he stopped by the property, this afternoon, that I might drive over to the rink and watch his son's hockey game with him, but as it was getting dark and I was putting my tools away, I remembered it's like 10 bucks to get in. Plus, I hadn't written in quite a while so I couldn't justify spending the time and money when I could be doing something productive. Oh well, if there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it's not just a reflection off water dripping down the wall from a light much, much farther away, the only way I'm going to find out is if I keep moving forward regardless of how little my progress.
The coop is pretty much done. I just need to paint it. I made the axle for the wheels from scratch by welding threaded rod to some angle iron and I installed double-paned windows which I, also, made from scratch by cutting the glass by hand and inlaying the pieces on both sides of a wooden frame to make it much warmer than just single-paned glass, but I hinged them so they can be opened in the summer. This thing is turning into a doll house for chickens. I've been cutting and splitting firewood for mr.Fireman a couple days a week so that's been huge for scraping together a couple bucks until I sell this thing. Plus, I'm getting a little exercise. Some of the logs are huge. He had a lot of trees taken down when he expanded his backyard. The pile was probably 8ft. high and 25ft. long and it's almost gone.
I guess it's time to remind myself, and anyone else, why someone would live the way I have. When I first started out, it was all about achieving my dreams. It seemed socially acceptable for a person to do whatever it takes in order to do this, but then I realized that my dreams, and most people's, surprisingly are ego-based and this was too shallow of a goal to work towards, in my opinion. But, what would a person be willing to endure to make it to paradise? Or, heaven on earth? This, to me, was a worthwhile goal. I've had short-lived moments when I've known that it is possible to reach this place and this is what keeps me going. Paradise or heaven on earth is not simply about pleasure and having everything a person could ever want. It's about having everything my soul has ever wanted, not my mind. My mind's an idiot, a shallow, petty, obsessive, scared little creature. My soul on the other hand, is an infinite entity encapturing all that I'm unaware of yet which is completely relative to me. This probably won't make sense to a lot of people especially with all the trials I've had attempting to achieve this, but if I can pull it off, the proof will be self-evident. I believe paradise and heaven are all around us, and I've experienced this at moments, but most people can't see it because they're lost in thought and the crazy part is that they don't even know it. Ideas have become their reality. We are living in a world of ideas. Thought is the epidemic of our time. We are out of control with it led by our petty minds rather than our altruistic hearts.
February 26, 2022, Marshfield, Massachusetts
Prayers and support for the people of Ukraine.
March 29, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I feel bad that I haven't written in a month. I was so focused on finishing my present project that I couldn't justify working on anything else. It's cold, today, so I figured I'd finally get back to it before heading outside. It's been a long winter, but I survived. We had a warm spell this past week so it looks like spring is just around the corner. The question I need to ask is "What for?" Why have I endured yet another freezing winter living like I do? I need to take an overview of work and projects in order to make a plan for the future so this will be my last winter living like this. If I'm going to work for myself, I'm pretty sure I can make ends meet and pay my bills seeing as I barely have any, along with the fact that I don't have rent or a mortgage, but barely getting by is not a plan for the future. This cheap temporary situation (which has become a lifestyle) is an opportunity which can allow me the freedom that many people who have to work their butts off 40-50hrs/wk to maintain even the most basic American lifestyle don't have. If I can take advantage of this opportunity, it can be the foundation of a better and more meaningful alternative for more than just myself, but I've got to keep my momentum and stay focused.
I could've sold the coop weeks ago, but I haven't so I've had to figure out what was keeping me from moving forward. I've always told myself if I can just accomplish this one thing, whatever it is that I happened to be working on, at that moment, then things will start getting better, but once I accomplish it they rarely have. I've had to realize that our present system is deceptive and more money is not the answer to all my problems. I think not selling the coop, yet, was my way of forcing myself to realize that it's not that simple. Honestly, I kind of want to keep the coop for myself because it came out so well then I could get some chickens here for eggs, but I'll probably sell it this week. I still need the money even though spring is basically here and with it lots of other work opportunities. I haven't gotten chickens, or a dog, for that matter, because then I'd be stuck here and I'm still battling loneliness on a daily, hourly, basis. I wouldn't be able to leave for a few days whenever I want or jump on a plane if I got livestock. Don't laugh, but I looked into driving to the Ukrainian embassy. There's one in D.C. and another in Ottawa. They one in Canada is actually closer and the organizers sending people over to help don't care about what country you're from. I don't speak Ukrainian, or any other useful languages, so I'm not sure how much help I'd be. I can fight and do any type of physical work, but if we can't communicate with one another I'm not sure if it would be wise. I've read up on the history of the situation, but I'm sure I don't know the whole story. I'm kind of fighting my own battle here anyways. Running from it is not the solution, but I have thought about going over to help a lot. I'm just not convinced I should stay here, either. I hate it here, actually. It's so crowded and unfriendly. I can't drive down the road without someone cutting me off or riding my bumper. Yes, I've learned a lot from the past six months and it was necessary for me to make a change and accept help, but I'm 100% healed, now. I've been doing pull-ups, push-ups and squats in the work shop just to get a little exercise, but what am I hanging on every day for? To make money? Heck no.
I'm tired of being alone all the time. I'm so much more productive when I'm around people, but I have no people. I got injured and it forced me to accept help from a couple of friends for a little while so I saw them more than usual, but, now, what? Getting a girlfriend or starting a family is not the answer. That'll just distract me from the problem and make me dependent on a corrupt system, but being alone in the world, single-handedly trying to live according to my beliefs is beginning to feel pointless. I shouldn't have to almost die in order to see people once in a while and I can't water myself down and pretend to be someone I'm not just to make other people feel comfortable. They're the ones who bought into all the lies and I can't live like that. I've met a few more people since getting more involved in the "church". I know it's a little weird that I put the word in quotations, but if you've read any of my earlier writings from years ago you'll know why I do this. I've never found a real church to join though I have tried out a few in my adult life. I could never get past the hard-to-believe stories that so many religions are based on. We live in a very rational and cynical world. It doesn't seem honest that the people leading these churches claim to believe these stories, yet they're living like everyone else, if not better, while things keep getting worse. The "church" I'm participating in, now, doesn't require a person to go along with this and that's why I'm allowing myself to participate in it, but even they don't really know me, how I live or, more importantly, why?
Mr.Finance is coming by this afternoon and I need to have a heart to heart conversation with him. I need to have one with mr.Fireman, too. I've got to start being more myself. Our friendships are based primarily on chemistry. Our personalities mesh, we're all ex-athletes and we have the same sense of humor, but I've got to start talking to them about what I really believe even if it's very different from what they believe. They're the only two people in my life and I've been afraid to get too real with them because I usually scare people off when I do this and I can't afford to lose their friendships. I said the heck with everybody many times in my youth not afraid to find myself completely alone, yet still holding fast to my my beliefs and the path I was on this attitude is what has landed me here. I'm not going to give up on these beliefs, but I'm trying to find a middle-ground to still have people in my life. We're going to move a little shed when he gets here. It was left on the property and it's falling apart if we don't save it. Maybe I'll turn it into a temporary chicken coop (if I decide to sell layers with the coops I'm selling). This weekend he's going to rent a bobcat so we can move some dirt around and fix the driveway where it gets muddy after a hard rain. He's been wanting to buy a tractor, but I haven't encouraged this because I don't want him to spend money for the wrong reasons. I, honestly, don't know why he's coming to work on the shed. I can do it myself. Maybe he just wants to get out of the office or maybe it's his way of trying to spend time with me. He knows I'm struggling to stay here. I don't need his help with the shed. I just need to start being more myself.
I've made a third friend, recently. He and mr.Finance went to high school together. We'll call him "Shrek" because he's a funny big oaf of a guy. No, I can't call him that. He's a job recruiter so I'll just keep it simple and call him "mr.Recruiter". He's got a big heart, but he doesn't open up easily so we're still getting comfortable with each other. He saved my butt a couple weeks ago. The coop was almost finished and I was scraping by working a couple days a week cutting and splitting firewood until I could sell it and he offered me a down payment on it without actually buying it. He said if I make it big then I can pay him back otherwise it's NOT a loan. He learned how rough I was living and wanted to help take the pressure off. There are no words for what it did for my mental well-being. I owe him a lot more than money. I'm going to drive up to NH on Thursday with him to look at a car for his wife. It's a convertible and he wants to do something nice for her. She, originally wanted to get a motorcycle, but they have kids and Shrek thought that was a little dangerous. I get that. I've had a lot of motorcycles, even gone coast to coast on one. They're fun, but not the safest way to travel. Mr.Fireman has a sweet harley that he never rides anymore, either, having two little girls to raise. A convertible is a happy compromise. They're a lot of fun, too.
Well, it's late morning and I'm starting to get anxious about running to the lumber yard and getting a bunch of prep-work done before mr.Finance arrives so I should wrap this up.
April 5, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
Had a good talk with mr.Finance, the other day. Before he arrived at the property while I was still running around doing errands, I realized that it's wrong for me to have unrealistic expectations of other people. It's not fair to them. I need to be in charge of my world and use whatever understanding I can gain to be more accepting of other people in my life regardless if they live like me. My biggest take away from this winter and the accident, other than the obvious redundant theme of needing to not live such an isolated life -because if a cat has 9 lives I don't know how many I have left, was, sadly, letting go of the expectation that the people in my life should be part of my actual family. Before talking with my friend on Tuesday, I realized that even though we get along awesome, he doesn't need to understand why I live the way I live because he may not be able to and this is ok. Our lives and paths have been very different. I'm not going to change him and he's not going to change me. In fact, I may need to try harder to understand where he's at seeing as I'm the one who left that world. I know what it's like. I grew up in it, but he may never be able to understand what it's like to live in mine and it's unrealistic, and unfair, for me to expect him to. It's one thing to intellectualize something. It's another to actually experience it. I made a choice to live differently than most people, but looking back and coming back here there were many circumstances that contributed to this decision and had I not experienced them I may have never made such a choice. I might have followed along like everyone else. I wasn't an outsider or misfit when I was a kid. I was very much in the middle of the crowd fitting in quite comfortably, maybe even a leader. Now, with everything I've learned it was almost like the perfect storm of circumstances that finally contributed to me taking a different path more than it was a personal choice. The choice was a result of the circumstances more than it was a reflection of me. The fact that no one knew about these circumstances, except for my small immediate family, was what made me feel so different and alone.
Anyways enough about me. I'm still not crazy about living in this area, but I need to make the best of it while I'm here. There's nothing saying I can't leave and take a break from it when I need to. About a month ago, it was 6:30 in the morning during a snow storm so the roads were pretty quiet, but this didn't keep some guy from riding my bumper. Granted I don't drive as fast as most people around here, but driving so close to someone under such slippery conditions is not too bright. I finally got tired of it and slowed down pulling over a little to let him pass. The roads hadn't been plowed, yet, so I didn't pull over too far because I couldn't really tell what the side of the road looked like, but if this guy was in such a hurry he could go around me. Instead, he pulled up next to me, put his truck in park in the middle of the road and paced over to my truck. I put my window down to see what he wanted. Once he got to my door, he reached in and grabbed my jacket with both hands and started pulling me so I clocked him in the face. It was kind of funny. You don't get to punch someone in the face everyday, but when they put their hands on you, it's go time. I'll be the first to admit that it wasn't much of a punch because I was sitting down, but it still startled him as he stumbled backwards towards his truck. He said "Is that the best you got?" I laughed and said, "No", but he didn't hear me. He was so belligerent yelling continuously not letting me get a word in edgewise. He kept saying that it was all my fault for giving him a brake job which I explained that I hadn't. I simply slowed down so he could go around me, but it was no use. He wasn't listening to a word. He subscribed to the school of thought that if you talk (or yell) louder and faster than the other person, you will win the argument, regardless of what you say. I wasn't interested in winning or even arguing at all. I was actually in a good mood on my way to church and then after that I had a few people to plow out. He was fat and I'm guessing in his 60's. He was simply unloading all the venom he could at me as I patiently waited for him to finish, but when he put his hands inside my window, again, I told him he better move them which he did acting like a disrespectful, little punk saying, "Oooh, what are you going to do?" It's really sad that someone his age hasn't learned much from life. Eventually, he ran out of steam having made fun of my truck, which was the same kind as his, my Maine plates, even though I grew up just down the road, but the last thing he said was the cherry on top. He called me a "sissy puncher" which made me laugh, again. I would have left long ago, but then he'd be right behind me on my bumper, again, so I had to put up with his little tantrum until he finally drove off. I guess he wasn't in a hurry after all.
A week later, some guy followed my truck onto the property one night (ignoring the "No Trespassing" signs that my friend put up) and basically started an argument with me claiming he had a right to know what I was doing out here. It was close to ten o'clock so I told the guy that I understood why he'd be curious, but I thought since I've been coming and going for the past 4 months that I was surprised he'd never seen me. I tried to be polite, at first, apologizing that I thought I had met all the neighbors by now. He said that he lived right across the street so I asked him if he bought his house from my friend, telling him his name, because that's where my friend lived when he bought this property, but he said he didn't know my friend. It turns out that the guy didn't live right across the street, but one driveway down, close enough, and saw me turn into the wooded driveway that leads to the property. He claimed he had never seen me before which I told him was hard for me to believe, but I suppose it's possible so no big deal. He wasn't hearing any of this continuing to imply that I shouldn't be back here and that I must be up to no good dropping f-bombs and pointing his finger at me inches away from touching me. I finally had enough and told him that he needed to back off and change his attitude because he was the one trespassing, not me. I offered to show him around the property with a flashlight at all the work I and my friend had done to the land and buildings since I'd gotten here even offered him my driver's license if we wanted to call the police. He refused every offer and continued to be a jerk. Just another unhappy person looking to unload on someone else, but I kept trying to take the high road and eventually he calmed down offering to shake my hand and invited me to stop by his house anytime. I shook his hand to get rid of him, but I have no interest in ever seeing him, again. Not wanting to get my friend in trouble with his neighbors was the only reason I didn't put him in his place. Miserable people somehow think it's acceptable to act like children. It turns out I'd already met his teenage son when he and another boy walked through the property earlier this winter to go "hang out" in the woods. He was carrying a deer antler that he'd found when they left and I let them come and go which I didn't have to do, but I remember being their age, too, before all the woods I used to run around in with my dog got turned into trophy houses. It's just too crowded aroundS here.
I used to say that if a person is stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on the freeway everyday, they can either get mad at the people around them for not driving the way they want them to or they can accept the situation as a necessary evil of an otherwise happy life. If they don't have a happy life then they should probably remove themselves from the routine. Blaming other people for how we feel is a very dysfunctional way to live, but unfortunately a lot of people think it's acceptable behavior. It's not.
My friend and I got a bunch of stuff done on the property this week which means a lot to him. He bought it like 20 years ago, but the guy he bought it from lied about the fact that it was a buildable lot so for 20 years he's been unable to do anything with it which has been a huge thorn in his side. Improving it in any way is gradually turning it from a bad situation into a good one.
April 6, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
The cool thing about early spring is that even though it's not exactly warm, the temperatures aren't below freezing anymore which means I've been allowing myself to have a fire in the bunk house because I can actually enjoy the affects of it while cooking, doing dishes, folding laundry, writing, etc. During the dead of winter, it was a waste of wood to try to keep it warm in here with no insulation in the walls so I didn't bother, but on a cool wet day like today a warm fire is the perfect solution. Helped out a buddy who owns a small organic landscaping business, yesterday, shoveled a lot of fill helping mr.Finance fix the long wooded driveway here on the property, this weekend, and, tomorrow, I'll bang out a few more raised bed boxes for mr.Fireman. Feeling a little less lonely these days, but I'm still by myself most of the time. It would be nice to have someone to talk to on a daily basis. My belief that "it takes a village" reinforces the fact that I probably shouldn't start dating until I've consistently solved my loneliness problem which may sound contradictory, but I think a lot of people get into relationships for the wrong reasons and I don't want to put any unrealistic expectations on one. Meaning, I should focus on having more to give rather than hoping to find more to receive. One of the other challenges that comes along with working for myself is that I don't get the back-breaking type of work-outs that I love from working on farms and fishing boats, but, unfortunately, those jobs don't pay much so I'll have to figure out a way to get back in shape enough to ask a lady out if the moment does comes along someday. Having a lot of money isn't what makes me feel like a man. Being in shape does, but I'll never get ahead on what a laborer makes and such is the challenge of living a humble life.
April 9, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
My productivity is increasing. It's not where I know it can be, but it's improving. Pumped out a couple more bed boxes for mr.Fireman, today. I think he wants 10 for now. Once, I finish them, I can focus more on the property here and fixing up the bunk house. I'll probably build a few bed boxes for myself and start a big kitchen garden. With the money from the coop -which I still haven't sold! But, I will. I just want to finish the bed boxes for my friend so he and his little girls can plant their fruits and vegetables soon then I'll put the finishing touches on it and post it. I'll pick up a couple good solar panels so I can have some lights at night and keep this laptop charged. That's pretty much all I need electricity for. While the leaves are still off the trees, I'll clear a lot of the underbrush for a path to the creek before the grass and shrubs start to grow. I've been researching aquaculture a lot lately, so I'm going to try a little edible fish pond with all the water available here on the property. Too many other projects too list, but it's all about building momentum and making more social connections. Even wrote and recorded a new song the other day which I haven't done in a long time.
April 10, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I'd skip this whole paragraph if I was you. It's wicked boring and overly detailed. You've been warned. I was re-welding the wheels on the removable chicken run, today. Originally, I designed it so that the run could be flipped up on two heavy duty hinges which were mounted to the side of the chicken tractor (a chicken coop on wheels) for when you wanted to move it to a different location and it still functions this way, but I realized that the run might be a little too heavy for some people to lift up by themselves so I created the option for it to be disconnected from the coop and rolled separately, or even towed behind the coop, to its new location. Anyways, the wheels, called casters in commercial industries, have a threaded post so that they can be screwed into a mounting bracket, but when I was fabricating the brackets to be attached to the side of the run, I welded a standard 3/4 inch nut to them and I should have used a fine threaded 3/4 inch nut which, again, is common in many industrial applications. Fine threads simply tighten better and don't loosen as easily. If you ever tried to thread a fine threaded bolt into a standard threaded nut, you'll realize that it goes in a little ways and then starts to bind up and cross-thread. I had used nuts with a nylon insert so that they wouldn't gradually unscrew over time and that's what I thought was stopping the casters from threading further by hand. When it was time to try pushing the run around the yard, I grabbed a wrench to tighten them further only to realize it wasn't the nylon stops making it harder to turn, it was because they were different type threads. Ugh, a careless mistake which I realized immediately upon further inspection of the caster posts. Fine threads are noticeably closer together than regular threads. Soooo, I had to find new fine threaded 3/4 inch nuts at the hardware store (a lot of them don't carry them), remove the old nuts (by breaking the tack welds I had made with a heavy hammer and rod driven from the opposite side) and then re-weld the proper nuts. I could have just cranked the casters on using the wrong nuts. They never would have come off once I cross-threaded them far enough, but this was not the proper solution so, today, I fixed them the right way. I ran out of gas in the generator as I was finishing the last wheel. I used it all winter so it's about time.
I try to consolidate my trips off property so I'll get gas tomorrow when I leave to get more lumber for bed boxes. I rounded up some more firewood, this afternoon, since I've been having a lot more fires, lately (like right now). I still haven't spent a night in the bunk house, yet, and I won't until I rip the siding off the outside. They're old asbestos shingles and I didn't make it this far only to inhale some random asbestos and get sick from it. The shingles aren't made from the really bad kind of asbestos. They're almost like mini-concrete sheets which don't create the floating particles interior asbestos panelling create when disturbed or broken, but I'm not taking any chances. It would be nice to sleep indoors on a flat surface like a bed and then just start a fire in the morning to take the chill out of the air, but I'll get there eventually. Made up a rough design for building a small bedroom loft in the bunkhouse. The peak of the ceiling is 12ft. high so I can squeeze one in at one end of the room. Yes, I live a ridiculous life. Got a little lonely later today. Tried to listen to an audiobook on depression, but it was more of a downer than a help written by some know-it-all doctor who never once admitted he'd ever been depressed himself. I've never considered myself depressed either. I don't like labels or made up terms to address problems people are having from trying to live in this artificial world we've created. I'm just lonely, but they're similar feelings so I can relate. Decided to write instead. The sun was out for a little while, today, and it was so beautiful. Well, the giant pot of water has been heating on the wood stove all evening. Time to clean this hobo up.
April 23, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I've been entertaining checking out some group living situations, lately, but after both the guys stopped by, yesterday, and mr.Recruitor rolled in this morning, I can't really complain about loneliness, at the moment. I've been considering two different places, one is in Asheville, NC and the other is up in VT. Ok, I've, also, thought a lot about Costa Rica and Peru, but when I run through a checklist of what I'm looking for in a place, the same question always pops into my head. "If you know exactly what you're looking for, why don't you just create it yourself?" The kind of place that I'm looking for is the kind of place that I've always planned on creating. The long-earned answer to this question is that I can't do it alone. The truth is that I still believe I can create it alone, but I shouldn't condemn myself to a life of loneliness while I'm trying to do it. That's the difference. None of my friends have any interest in living like I want to live. I'm sure they'd hate it if I said that they're like every one else living the "American Dream", but compared to how I live they are, yet we're still friends and though they'll never bring it up, I'm sure they consciously, or subconsciously, overlook the same difference about me. To be honest, I have no idea why they choose to be friends with me.
The weather is really beginning to improve and I'm on the verge of breaking out and exploding with energy and productivity. I can feel it. So right now, I don't have to make any major decisions, but I should still be thinking long term. No more of "I'll do this for the season and then come winter I'll figure out what's next." I've been living like that for far too long and it's kept me in a holding pattern, always thinking and preparing, but never doing. I'm not going to live forever and if I want a family even if it's just adopting children, I've got to create a world where they can learn what life is really about, where they can learn real values and real skills and, most of all, where they can know real happiness. Unfortunately, they're never going to learn these things in this messed up world, but they can if I create a natural one within it...or outside of it.
April 30, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
Well, it's time to get brutally honest with myself. I'm wasting my life here. I apologize in advance for sounding so self-absorbed, but this is what I use this blog for. It's the only place where I can "talk" about this stuff. Maybe someday someone will relate to it, if they ever find themselves facing similar challenges. Sometimes I feel bad about how I think I'm going to finally turn the corner and improve things, but then the honeymoon ends whether it's arriving in a new place or, like most recently, getting to spend a couple of hours with a couple friends once every six months and I go back to my life of solitary confinement. It's actually a little embarrassing how excited I get from getting to be around people. There's so much about life to be thankful for, embrace and experience and all I'm doing is hanging on by a thread every day hoping, praying and working to make some kind of a life for myself in a place where I don't belong. I'm failing miserably. God knows I've tried. God may be the only one who knows how hard. I've come up with countless ideas to make money and work for myself, but the simple fact of the matter is money alone has absolutely no ability to motivate me. It's empty. I've had countless job opportunities, as well, but they, also, revolve around the pursuit of money (or the lack of it) and this, again, is a hollow purpose to me. I cannot be duped into thinking it's worthwhile and the reason is simply because there is no one here to convince me. A lot of people are aware of the contradictions and corruption in our society, but they're able to compromise enough to still participate in it because the people in their life make it worthwhile or because their desire for material gain is so great that everything else is a lesser priority. I am alone with my thoughts 24/7, yet thoughts don't motivate me. I'm only motivated by my heart, not my head. My heart knows the truth and it would, and has poured, itself into any worthwhile cause. Accumulating money and perpetuating this corrupt system is the opposite of this. My heart is taking a beating day after day as I try to force myself into working for the mental construct that we've created in this world. It's pointless and I can see right through it. One can lie to one's heart, but one's heart will never lie to them. Our hearts know the truth. Only our minds can tell lies.
Sooooo, what then? Yes, I have been thinking a lot about getting out of the country and seeing a different culture that may have different priorities and values. I've got plenty of stuff to sell to put some money in my pocket and I've still got all the heart in the world to work for something worthwhile. I just haven't been able to find that here. I've only got one life to live and I'm done wasting it.
Why am I so lonely? The redundant continual question. Aside for how obvious the system divides and conquers us, yet no one seems to notice, it's because I've spent my whole life alone, but why? Yes, I didn't come from a close family. We didn't talk or do many things together. Sadly, the bottom line was that my parents weren't very happy despite having plenty on the outside to be happy about. A big reason for this was that neither were close to their own families. Ok so, this might be part of the reason I've felt so lonely growing up and when I'd always take off into the woods with my dog and disappear for hours, but why when I grew up didn't I find a nice girl and start a family of my own and do things differently? This is what all my friends who I grew up with did. They got married, start families and are successful. At least, they appear to be on the outside. However, it's interesting that my two closest friends from college didn't get married, settle down and start families. Our backgrounds were very different. They were, both, minorities, poor and grew up in a city. One of them never even met his father. Despite their humble beginnings, they've both done better than I have. They'd probably admit that they're not doing as great as they'd like to be, but they definitely have nicer things and live a lot more comfortably than I do.
When I consider my background, friends, career path and beliefs, what separates me from most people is how I've lived, but, again, the question is "Why have I lived this way?" The three friends I have, at the moment, as a result of the time I've spent back here on the east coast the past few years, mr.Finance, mr.Fireman and mr.Recruitor, also, live very different lives than me. They all have nice houses, wives and children. I probably only talk to these guys a couple times a week, if that, and I might actually see one of them maybe once a week. The rest of the time I'm alone and sleep in my truck on this wooded property which has a couple small buildings on it. I'm not complaining! -that's my judgmental background talking. I'm just trying to look at the situation objectively. Spending 7 days a week alone except for maybe a few minutes with an acquaintance once in a while is probably something most people wouldn't do well with and I've lived like this my whole life. Getting more involved at "church" has helped a little, but I can't make it my life. Except for a few short relationships I've had, which I ended, my solution has always been to surround myself with nature because when I'm outside in the natural world I don't feel as alone especially if I'm living off the land and have a dog. Right now, I'm outside most of the time, but still trapped in suburbia, definitely not living off the land and no side-kick, at the moment. I'm afraid to get another one, even though I really want to, because then I can't jump on a plane and disappear. Wah, wah, wah. To get back to answering the question "Why?", before factoring in everything I've described so far, there's probably one more relevant ingredient.
Growing up, I was different than all my peers. I was physically a very late bloomer. I mean very. So much so that my parents took me to the hospital a number of times in my adolescence to have tests done on me. I was even offered steroids and male growth hormones to make me grow. Maybe it wasn't steroids, but just male growth hormones. I don't remember exactly what they were. I was just a kid, but I knew they were drugs and I didn't want to take them. I adamantly refused telling the doctors and my parents "No." The whole experience creeped me out. One time, my parents even lied to me about taking me to the hospital. They, especially my father, were famous for keeping secrets. Of course, they eventually had to tell me where I was going, but it was a very distrustful experience. I'm sure they meant well and I was lucky to even have parents and doctors offering to "help" me, but I wasn't asking for help. I never once complained about my size. In fact, I sort of liked it. It was fun. The problem was that I was a reflection of their fears, insecurities and judgment. I liked who I was. Well, I did until they eventually wore me down and convinced me that I shouldn't. Before all this, I was a wild and confident kid. I ruled the school with a few of my friends, was friends with all the prettiest girls and even protected less popular kids when they were picked on. I was having a blast in life. I eventually rebounded from this difficult period when I broke away from my parents and the world that they represented in my early 20's regaining all the confidence and sense of adventure I had as a boy. It was the best feeling in the world to get back to who I was, but being such a late bloomer did put me in a different category.
When I was in high school, it wasn't easy to survive. School for a lot of kids is very much like Lord of the Flies. There are adults around, but most of them are asleep at the wheel. The popular crowd was a very cut throat world in suburbia when I had no one watching my back and not as much money as most of them, not to mention I was half the size of everyone, including the girls, but I survived it, barely. But because I wasn't doing what my peers were doing, dating, having sex and getting into fights, it gave me time to look around at the world and see where we were, all, headed and I questioned it. Don't get me wrong. I was obsessed with girls just as much as my friends, but completely petrified of intimacy not having all the physical urges that come along with puberty like everyone else. I'm not proud to admit that I didn't absolve from fighting completely, but I did, however, see the pointlessness of it. Because I was still a little kid surrounded by young men and women, I wasn't preoccupied with all the drama that goes along with this stuff so, again, I looked to the natural world for answers and solace.
When mother nature finally did kick in and I started to grow, I only had one more year of college left. It was like someone had ignited a rocket ship that had been sitting on the deck waiting for take off for many years. Blast off. I went from almost failing out of college to graduating with straight A's. Ok, I got one B+, but that was in my favorite class only because I went above and beyond the required curriculum and was still working on it after I graduated. My body turned into an action figure with muscles and a cool frame. I felt like I'd hit the lottery. My faith in Mother Nature had payed off which strengthened my loyalty and allegiance to the natural world even more, but when I applied everything I'd learned in the meantime to the world I was, now, about to enter I wasn't going to compromise my beliefs. I, now, understand that because my friends had never had those different experiences that I had during adolescence, they were full steam ahead on the road most traveled never doubting what they were signing up for by agreeing to play a rigged game because they always won the games they played. I could relate to this "winner" attitude because I was once like them, but I couldn't forget the difficult times I'd had when there was no one to talk to and no where to turn. I already knew for a fact that the system didn't work and there was no way I was going along with it. I'd just make my own way and blaze a new path believing whole-heartedly in my abilities. The major difference between me and the guys I knew was that they didn't question anything and I questioned everything. They didn't need to question it. They were used to winning. Sometimes they had to push harder to get through an obstacle, but it always worked so why question it? I thought like this, too, but I was applying it to a very different playing field and I was trying to do it completely alone. On the day of graduation from college, I dropped off a couple friends at the campus and while everyone was walking across the grass to take their seats, I was the only car driving off in the opposite direction. I skipped the ceremony and hit the road. Destination unknown, but my life was mine.
It was definitely a little scary and stressful at times flying without a net, but we're humans and we can get used to anything, good or bad, easy or difficult, especially if there's no one around to give you a second opinion. I had plenty of success, but when there came a point when I'd need to compromise my beliefs and there always would be, I never would. No job, no relationship, no place, no opportunity of any kind could ever get me to go against what I knew was right. Why? Because all I had was what I knew was right. There was nothing else. I couldn't give this up. I'd be lost without it. I was a one-legged table. Take the one thing I had to stand on away from me and I'd be falling into the abyss. This happened a few times when I was knocked over unexpectedly usually by a romantic relationship and it almost killed me, but oxygen continued to enter my lungs and I somehow survived. It's easy to see, now, that because I didn't have a close family and never new what love and affection felt like (hence loving animals so much, especially big powerful ones) that losing a girlfriend who once smothered me with physical touch and female attention was so devastating even though it was my unwillingness to compromise my beliefs that ended the relationships. I was so stubborn and blind.
So these are all the circumstances that have landed me here, still alone, still free, still healthy, but with no where to go and no one to belong to. I know it wouldn't take much for me to go from miserably alone to flying high, but it hasn't happened, yet. Not here. I've learned a lot and there have been short intervals over the years when I was a little more connected to others, but nothing even close to consistent or permanent. And, yes, my stubborn beliefs are still in full force, but I've gained a mountain of knowledge on how to implement them in a natural way without being so militant about my adherence to them. I just need to find a place and reason why I should.
May 11, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
Well, I knew it would happen and it has. This dork is finally flying high. I'm still here and I still don't like it here, but I turned the corner on enough projects, i.e. made enough money, that I'm no longer white-knuckling it just to make it through the day. Now, I'm floating and smiling most of the time. I still need to learn how to say "no" because I keep finding myself doing a lot of favors for a lot of people. This is just a side-affect of not having much of a social life so when someone asks me to "help" them, I see it as an opportunity to spend time with another person and they see it as an opportunity to get some work out of me, work I end up doing by myself for them, but I'm getting better at catching this little trick. I've got to fix a riding lawnmower for one friend, put a boat in the water for another and clean out a French drain for one more person then I'll really be free. They all end up throwing me some cash so it's not like they're taking advantage of me. There's just too many of them and only one of me so if I don't learn to say "no" I'll never have any time to work on my own projects. If I need money, I can just pump out some more raised bed boxes.
The million dollar question is "What's next?" What would a true free spirit do?
May 16, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I rode my old bicycle down to the corner and got an ice cream cone after I finished working at the end of the day, yesterday. There's a little sandwich shop with an ice cream window attached where the suburban road that the property is on meets a main road which is sort of convenient. I've only eaten there once, but it's nice to have something so close. I was jamming out to some music and one of my earbuds fell out just before I pulled back onto my dirt driveway and got caught in the rear wheel of the bike. They weren't the cordless bluetooth kind. I have a pair of those, too, but I rarely use them. I decided that I don't think it's a good idea to stick a AAA battery in my ear and discharge it so close to my brain which is basically what a cordless airbud is. I can't image that's very healthy for us. I'll just suffer with the old school wire ones and be more careful when I'm pedaling one-handed trying to keep melting ice cream from running down my arm. The gears of the bike ripped one of the buds right off, but being in a good mood, I decided to try to fix it and spliced the wires back together after I finished eating my black raspberry cone with jimmies. All it took was a razor knife, a lighter (to burn off the insulation of the inner wires) and a tiny piece of black tape. They work fine, again, but I bought an extra pair, today, just to have as a back up. I, also, ordered a solar charge controller for my solar system which should be completed soon. The little backpack panels I use on hikes are great for my phone, but not quite strong enough to charge this laptop that I'm typing on so I've had to use it sparingly all winter and charge it with my truck's cigarette lighter when I'm out doing errands which works pretty good, but it will be nice to write at my leisure without worrying that the battery will eventually run out.
May 17, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I could run a marathon, right now. Well, I shouldn't say that. For someone who's walked 30 miles a day for months at a time, I should know better than to make exorbitant statements, but my cup is running over a lot these days and I have an abundance of energy. I've been dancing a lot. In the workshop, in the yard, in the bunkhouse. I still have plenty of hard times that come along with living in the world alone especially with the job the media and government are doing to under mind a person's attempt to see the world as a safe and stable place. Ok, let's dial it a back a little. This is supposed to be an acknowledgment of how great things are going. The warm weather is here, I'm healthy, I'm not broke, I've got a few casual buddies in my life and I'm free. I thought about heading out, tonight. Maybe do a couple errands then grab some dinner somewhere, but I stopped myself. Consumption is not a form of expression and expressing oneself when a person feels great is what we're naturally compelled to do, not simply fill our faces. This is when a girlfriend would come in handy. We could go for a moon-lit walk. There was a lunar eclipse two nights ago. That was really beautiful. I used my binoculars and could see it even better. The moon turned a reddish orange color hence the expression blood moon.
I suppose writing is a passive form of expression, for what it's worth. I was tempted to keep working right up until dark and pull the sailboat out of its winter parking spot, take the cover off and start getting it ready for summer, but I noticed that I should mow the grass by the bunkhouse, first, where I plan to park the boat to work on it. However, I pulled the spark plug and air filter out of mr.Recruitor's riding lawnmower that I just finished fixing, this afternoon, to get new ones while I still have it here so it's not usable, at the moment. Plus, I decided that I'll pull the blades off it, tomorrow, and sharpen them so I might as well wait and cut the grass with newly sharpened blades.
I could watch a movie, but that's lame. I used to be a movie junkie up until last winter when my laptop's dvd player stopped working and I never got a new one. I even considered it, yesterday, while I was getting a couple things at target. A new external dvd player for a laptop is only like 20 bucks, but I kind of like that I've weaned myself off of movies. There's a lot more productive and useful things to do with my time. I'll think of something. There's nothing wrong with just savoring the moment, for now. It's been a long road getting here.
May 18, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I parked my truck at the bottom of mr.Recruitor's driveway in Plymouth and unloaded his riding lawnmower. He lives at the top of a steep hill so I thought it'd be funny if I pulled up to his house on the lawnmower. I texted him a few minutes beforehand to tell him that I was in the area and might stop by. He was at his youngest son's baseball game which was even better because I knew he was going to try to pay me if he was there, hence not giving him much notice that I was coming. I didn't want any money. His wife and older son (16) were home and saw me coming up the driveway through the big picture window in the front of the house and laughed.
One more obligation and I'm a free man. I put my other friend's boat in on Friday so all I have left is the French drain at my father's to finish and then I can look to the horizon without any obstacles in the way. I worked on my father's yard last weekend and made some progress, but hopefully one more day and I'll get it done. My older brother was there and came out and asked me a lot of questions about what I was doing and then went back inside. I don't know what he does all day. He doesn't have a job, yet drives a fancy mercedes convertible. He told me to let him know if I needed a hand with anything, but I didn't really need any help so I never asked. It's a little confusing to me how different we are. I was working on our father's yard and he lives there. Why should I have to ask? No one asked me to do what I was doing. I saw that the grass was muddy and water was running down the driveway so I knew the drainage pipe must be clogged. It wasn't going to unclog itself. I mowed the lawn, too, while I was there because the dandelions were over a foot high. I've been on my own for so long that maybe I don't see things the way I should. No one showed me how to fix a riding lawnmower. I taught myself like everything else I know how to do because it was a matter of survival. Useful people with initiative find work. Lazy useless people don't. I needed a job wherever I went.
When I left a different friend's house about a week ago after helping her with the grape vines over her pergola, I didn't let her pay me either. It ended up being a two day job because she added on a little weeding and mulching around her pool. Originally, she ask for my "help" because she wanted to increase her grape yield and knows that I'm a farmer. Plus, she's recovering from a broken wrist and her boyfriend just had foot surgery so, of course, I was willing to help, but she was upset that I left without letting her pay me and tracked me down at church a few days later and stuffed a bunch of money in my pocket as I was talking to someone else. I'm sure mr.Recruitor will try to do the same thing. Well, hopefully not the reaching into my pants pocket part. I like being helpful, but I'll be honest. I hated most of these projects and I, now, realize why. There's two reasons. The first is the obvious one which is because they keep me alone. I'm still working by myself like I always am, but I'm working on someone else's stuff while neglecting my own. If I wasn't sleeping in my truck every night and had a little more domestic stability like a kitchen to prepare meals in or a bathroom to take showers in then maybe postponing some things I should be working on wouldn't be that big of a deal. The other reason is when I say "yes" to more than one person, I get stressed out about postponing one favor in order to complete someone else's. It's almost like I can feel the impatience of each individual building up inside me whether it's real or imagined. I'm sure someone who runs their own business knows exactly what I'm talking about.
I stopped by mr.Finance's house on the way home, last night, to help work on his boat with him and his boys. That was fun because I was literally just helping. We were doing it together then we ate some subs and watched a little hockey on tv. I have two major mottoes in life which are "They know not what they do" and "It ends with me." I know not what I do just as much as the next person which is why this adage is not about judgment, but rather forgiveness and acceptance and we, ALL, need plenty of this. It, also, reminds me of the 2nd Agreement in Don Miguel Ruiz 's book which is to never take anything personal, good or bad. And as far as making sure that any negative energy ends with me, trying to live according to this belief allows us to single-handedly make the world a better place one small incident at a time. Energy is cyclical and when we stop the pattern of negative feelings by refusing to blame, judge or lash out at others, we are putting a stop to this particular negative energy's life cycle.
May 22, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
It was close to 90 degrees out, but my fingertips were numb with cold by the time I made it back to the bunkhouse, this evening. I spent the entire day on the property. Blazed a short trail down to the creek where it's deepest, assembled a bed for the bunkhouse from scrap wood in the shop, moved a huge brush pile and cut up an old fallen tree into rounds to burn next winter (not that there's any guarantee I'll be here then). To celebrate a quiet, yet productive day, I rode the old bike down to the ice cream shop, again. I opted to use my bluetooth earbuds, this time, so I wouldn't break another pair of headphones. It's less than a 5 min. ride so I figured using them for that long won't kill me. The fact that they're cordless definitely made it a less cumbersome undertaking for the one-handed return trip, but, unfortunately, about 2/3 of the way back, this time, my double-scooped strawberry with jimmies cone toppled off its perch. I thought I was doing an excellent job of staying on top of the situation by licking continuously as I pedaled, but the 90 degree weather had other plans and created a creamy landslide that I couldn't prevent. Luckily, I caught the mound of cold mush with the same hand I was holding the cone with. It wasn't pretty, but I kept licking (I had washed my hands after I finished working). I wasn't going to lose my end of the day reward without a fight. With the cone sticking out sideways and strawberry ice cream running through my fingers, I continued to eat my treat like one would a handful of snow they just scooped off the ground after a winter storm. To my surprise and despite the hot temperatures, it felt like frost bite was setting in by the time I made it down the wooded driveway to the bunkhouse where I ditched the bike, ran inside, dropped the beheaded remains of frosty the strawberry snowman into a cereal bowl and rinsed my hand under the room temperature water from the ceramic dispenser that doubles as my kitchen faucet. Having lived in Alaska, I'm no stranger to frost bite, but that was impressive how quickly the melting ice cream affected my epidermis. Catastrophe averted. I reassembled the cone from the bowl and resumed my enjoyment.
Six of the guys from church came by, yesterday, and we sat around the new fire pit that mr.Finance and I had thrown together with big rocks we collected from the property earlier in the afternoon. He had stopped by after visiting his mother at the nursing home which is just down the road from the property to find me out back loading rocks into my truck, but it didn't take much coaxing to get him to quickly finish what we were doing, drive to his house, hook on his boat and get it in the water for the season. He's been talking about how eager he's been to do so for weeks. We took it for a quick test ride and were back at the property before the guys showed up which was mr.Recruitor's idea, who brought a stack of pizzas. We had a lot of laughs and some serious talk, too. A tattooed covered heavy equipment operator, a New York city stock broker turned school teacher, a man who's driver's license has been permanently revoked who, now, runs a sober living house, the list went on. One might say we were a rough looking lot to be considered spiritual men, but I've, also, heard it said that "Religion is for people afraid to go to hell. Spirituality is for those who have already been there."
This evening after dark and a quick bath, I walked outside with my headlamp to put away the remainder of my tools. Then I remembered that I had left my hatchet for chopping kindling over by the fire pit so I walked over to grab it. The spot I had selected is a small open area beside the old cranberry bog that borders the driveway after it passes the bunkhouse and out of the wooded area onto a long a grassy strip of land the divides the woods from the bog. I went back inside placed the hatchet on the chopping block by the wood stove, grabbed a chair and carried it back out to the fire pit. I didn't start a fire. I just sat there for a while in the dark. The fire flies were out in full force out sparkling the stars on this slightly overcast night. I imagined what it must have been like to be a young Native American child watching the magical light show created by these tiny flying creatures.
After I'd been sitting there for a few minutes, they seemed to be swirling all around me as well as out across the acre of air over the bog. I thought to myself "This is probably as happy as one person can be." I'll spend my first night indoors on a bed in the bunkhouse. I have no electricity or running water. I live a very different life from the guys who all have families and I know mr.Recruitor is actively trying to get me to stick around since he's gotten to know me and learned how prone I am to take off either when the going gets bad or when the going gets good, but I'm here, at the moment. What little money I've accumulated this spring won't last forever so I need to keep building stuff and selling it, but whatever I make will never be enough to start a family with or even stay single and live like a "normal" person. At least, I know this isn't because there's something wrong with me. It's this system that's messed up and I've never been one who subscribes to the notion that "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." I'll never do that so it'll be interesting how I handle yet another opportunity to take moment, regroup and decide how I'm going to go about trying to function in this world without compromising what I know is right. We shall see. On the inside, I'm already there. On the outside, for now, I'm enjoying what I can. When the "I" that I constantly begin every sentence with becomes "we", maybe that will be the deciding factor.
June 18, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I better write a new entry. Weeks have been going by and things are happening in the world and in my own life which are beginning to pile up. I had to take a break from writing to process what's been going on in the country. The school shootings are very disturbing, but what the media does with them is just as unnerving. The media has no respect for the loss of life or the privacy of those who lost loved ones. At top of this, a fight breaks out in front of a city night club late at night and a couple people get shot then the news calls it a "mass" shooting. This is not helping. It's terrorizing the American people while promoting the idea of shooting the innocent into the minds of mentally unstable individuals, all of which seem to be young man who are barely old enough to be considered adults. The suspect in the Buffalo supermarket shooting which was not a school, but just as horrific was only 18. Who do you think is putting these ideas in these young men's heads? The media! Whatever source a person prefers, their television, computer or phone, they are bombarded with this information constantly. Look up the definition of "promotion" and it sums it up.
1. activity that supports or provides active encouragement for the futherance of a cause, venture, or aim.
2. the publicization of a product, organization, or venture so as to increase sales or public awareness.
Any advertising or marketing professional knows all too well that it's about constant repetition in order to drive an idea into people's heads. And, any PR agent will tell a client, like an actor or musician, that "Negative press is just as good as positive press. It keeps people thinking and talking about you" or, in this case, thinking about shooting. This is what the media is doing by sensationalizing every tragedy that occurs in our country. It's out of control and adding to the problem, if not perpetuating it.
I was dog-sitting for a friend a week or so ago and happened to turn on their tv to possibly watch something as kind of a treat seeing as I haven't owned a television in 20 years. It seemed like every other show had either the word "murder" or "kill" in the title. Our culture has become sick. It continually promotes these ideas into the minds of people, especially young impressionable people, then it turns around and acts shocked when these young people act out these ideas by perpetrating these horrible crimes. Stop promoting it! Stop giving them the attention that they're seeking. How many video games that involve shooting and killing people did they play growing up? Where are these children's parents? If their parents fail them, what is our culture teaching them? The lack of values and strong communities are the problem and what are we, as a people, doing about it? Maybe it's time we stop expecting someone else to fix the problems that we are allowing to persist.
June 19, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I'm in a holding pattern. The transfer case (part of the transmission) on my truck blew on Wednesday. I was all loaded up and heading to VT, but I hadn't gotten far so I nursed it back to the property, pulled the rear and front driveshafts off then removed the transfer case. When I drained the fluid, I could see big junks of metal that had collected at the bottom of the case when the drain plug was removed. Not a good sign. Found a decent used transfer case online, paid for it and sent the company two emails asking how to pick it up. It would have cost me more than the part was worth to have it shipped here, something that big and heavy (approx. 150lbs), which is why I bought it from a place that was in driving distance. When they didn't respond, I called them and the guy I spoke to told me to just bring my order# with me and I'd be all set. Got up around 5:30, the next morning, and rode my new mountain bike (new to me) to mr.Fireman's house who offered to let me borrow his car to pick up the part. It was a 12 mile bike ride, but that early in the morning it was fairly peaceful. Drove his car back to the property, put the old transfer case in the trunk to bring with me and make sure they were giving me the right part. It's always a good idea whenever possible to bring the old part with you when buying a new one to confirm it's an exact fit.
The auto parts place is in Cumberland, RI, about an hour away. I hit some traffic so it took a little longer. When I got there and gave them my order number, the guy behind the counter told me that I was too early and that it wouldn't be ready for pick up until next week. I just shook my head to myself. Getting mad at him wasn't going to change anything. He called back to the parts department just to check seeing as I was already there, but they said they didn't have it. The listing on ebay where I found the part said that local pick-up was available which is why I bought the part from them in the first place. I told him that I had called ahead of time and the person on the phone told me to just bring my order# and I'd be all set, but the guy behind the counter said that this was not how they do it. Belaboring the lack of logic behind this statement was pointless. Obviously, this was their mistake, not mine, but it didn't change the fact that I wasn't getting my part, today. He told me he'd personally call me when it was ready next week and I left. I thought about looking for a different transfer case within the radius of distance that I'd just driven because I could probably find one, but getting this company to give me my money back would no doubt be just as much of a hassle as getting my part has turned out to be and I didn't want to complicate my friend's life by using his car longer than expected. When I texted him about their incompetence, he told me that he didn't need the car for the weekend. He has his truck and he just uses the car to drive into Boston for work to save on gas, but he wasn't working til Mon. If I hadn't sold my own gas-saver this winter, I probably would have looked for another transfer case in my own vehicle, but I decided not to complicate the situation anymore than it was.
On principle, I will contact the company to hold them accountable for giving me false information. They're a national company and it seems to be more common, these days, for bigger companies to just say "Oh well" when they make a mistake that inconveniences a customer and this is not an acceptable trend. Regardless of the outcome, not doing anything won't improve anything. It wasn't the guy's fault at the actual location. If you saw the other customers he was trying to deal with and the atmosphere of the place, I doubt you'd want to make his day any worse than it already was, either, but, in hindsight, I should have, at least, emphasized to him that the company representative who I spoke to shouldn't be giving out wrong information. I'll deal with them directly. In the meantime, I'll work on other projects here at the property until I hear from them.
I've realized that a big part of my anxiousness stems from my desire to leave this area. After my near death accident last fall, the message that God, for lack of a better word, seems to be trying to tell me is that I need to stop living like I have. It almost felt like this was my final warning. I've had some pretty close calls over the years that I've walked away from completely unscathed, but a person's luck will only last so long. Setting out blindly on foot across America sleeping in the woods in the country and under bridges in the city year after year, it's amazing I never ran into any trouble. Evolving into traveling in a vehicle has been a little safer, but it's not how a person is supposed to live. It was just the lesser of two evils compared to forgetting everything I'd learned and experienced just to go back to living like everyone else. The end goal has always been the same during this entire time which is to live off the land with a group of people who want to live in harmony with nature, too. Ask Native Americans how this worked out for them. I've been telling myself this for years that I need to make a change, but never actually doing it so God, for lack of a bettrt word, decided to take matters into his/her own hands. It was like he/she knew said "Ok, this is going to hurt, but you're going to walk away from this, too, but I can't keep giving you these chances."
My friend in VT says she wants to create something similar to what I've been planning to, but she needs people like me to help her do it. She's a city girl from NYC with a vision who inherited some money to buy the land. I'm a country boy with a lot of experience that's never been able to make enough to buy my own. I'm crazy to just offer up all this experience and hard work that it's going to require to create such a place for free, but money's never been a motivating factor for me. Why should I let it stop me, now? The land isn't exactly what I would have bought, but holding out for perfect has kept me alone still fighting for survival. Maybe it's time, I put my money where my mouth is....or where my back is because that's what it's going to take to create it. She has another friend there, now, and she's been excited for he and I to meet. I've been interested in meeting him, too. Having another guy to work with will hopefully make it more enjoyable. She's willing to work, too, and says she knows other people, girls and guys, who, also, want to help, but no one else has showed up, yet. I've been trying to do it alone all my life and this needs to stop. It wasn't my choice. It was my predicament, but it doesn't have to be. We'll see.
June 22, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
While I was rolling around in the dirt under the truck, yesterday, with a 150 pound hunk of metal on my chest trying to wrestle it into place, I decided that taking a bath, later, would be a good idea so the next time I crawled out from under the truck I grabbed an empty 5 gallon bucket and walked down to the creek for some water. I poured about 1/2 the bucket of water into the off the grid water filter I made the other day. Once that water filters through, I'll pour the rest in. It works pretty good. It doesn't make the water drinkable though I suppose it could if I added a few more components. I just wanted it to be clean enough to use for baths. It's been dry this summer so the water level in the creek has gotten a lot lower causing the water to contain more dirt compared to how much clearer it was in the winter. The water filter is basically a layer cake made of different types of rock contained in a 5 gallon spring water jug with the bottom cut off tipped upside down. It starts with gravel then crushed stone, sand, activated charcoal and ending with a layer of cotton at the bottom (which is the spout) as the final filter. The rock filled jug is placed in a wooden stand with another empty 5 gallon spring water jug placed underneath it to catch the water. The top jug has a nail hole punched into the cap for the water to drip through into the bottom jug. The water from the creek was done being filtered by the time I finished putting the truck back together. Water heats up so much faster in the summer so I've been taking a lot more baths. It was very relaxing after two days of greasey mechanic work. I still buy clean spring water for drinking and cooking so this evening I'll drive to the store when the traffic dies down and get some more along with some groceries. The truck is still usable if I drive very slow which will have to do, for now.
June 23, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
"Well, that was disappointing" I said to myself as I was walking into the workshop to grab a cool drink out of my cooler. Then, I just busted out laughing. This happens a lot. As self-absorbed as I probably sound in these writings, the absurdity of my path in life combined with the hope which I still cling to rarely fails to make me laugh. What else can I do? Without a sense of humor, I'd be doomed. To be honest, it's not really a choice. It just happens. Joy happens. The laughter just bubbles out of me whether I want it to or not, which is a good thing. Thank God for that. In this case, it was especially funny because I'd just spent close to a week working on my truck, took it for a test drive, yesterday evening, and it sounded just as awful as it had before replacing the transfer case. Oh whelll. To be fair, it was heart crushing as I pulled back down the driveway still coming to terms with this reality and assessing my options, but by this morning I'd accepted my predicament and have decided to wash my hands of it all. Everything. The truck, my sailboat (my only two major possessions left) and trying to fit into a society that seems to be racing down a dead end road with no ability, awareness or concern that not being able to stop might be a problem. Oh whelll.
Hey, ya know what's cool? As I was grabbing what was left of the mango kefir in my cooler, I noticed that the guacamole I'd put in there, yesterday afternoon, still looked fresh and green. I eat a lot of guacamole. Avocados are good for you, but I can rarely eat more than a pound of it in one sitting which is the usual quantity size in the fresh-made containers I get at the supermarket so the remaining portion always turns an unappetizing dark brown by the time I go to eat it, again. Yuck. I don't want to waste it so I scrape the top layer off with a fork and eat what's left as my next meal. Being poor and a health nut don't exactly go hand and hand so I have to make do. But, the other day I grabbed some small reusable plastic containers when I was out doing errands and transferred what was left of my guacamole at lunchtime, yesterday, into one of these smaller containers. I packed it in there good and tight eating whatever didn't fit and slapped on a lid. I had a hunch that it was the air occupying all the extra space in the larger container that caused the guacamole to turn brown. I was right! Today, when I have guacamole for lunch it will look as fresh as it did when I first opened it. Cool beans.
Anyways, the truck is purring like a kitten for whatever that's worth. I just can't drive it anywhere. I decided to tune it up on Monday while I waited for the auto parts place to call. Years ago tune-ups were a much easier task for the average self-motivated person who wanted to work on their own vehicle, but, nowadays, car manufacturers have made it much more difficult. The spark plugs alone are almost impossible to get at. It all comes down to patience and, of course, having the right tools, or making them if you don't. It took a long time for something so simple, but I managed to get all 8 spark plugs out without too much trouble. It looks like the far back one on the passenger side, the hardest to reach, hadn't been changed in a very long time. It had a different part number as the others...and a heli-coil (an additional threaded sleeve when the original threaded spark plug hole in the engine gets damaged) around it. Fun stuff. Whoever worked on this truck in the past must have skipped it rather than go to the trouble of replacing it, again, during previous tune-ups. I had to remove a few other components in the engine compartment to reach it. It was after lunch time and I still hadn't heard from the auto parts store so I called them. They had given me the wrong number to call in the confirmation email they sent me when I purchased the part, last week, but after calling 4 different numbers I finally got through to someone who could tell me what the status on my part was. He told me that it was there waiting to be picked up. In fact, according to him, I could have picked it up last Friday. I told him that I drove there last Fri. and was told that it wasn't ready. Again, he was a nice enough guy so I didn't lean into him, but the incompetence of the company's communication was not exactly confidence inspiring. I headed over the following morning to pick it up.
When I got to the auto parts place, it was surprisingly quiet and there were two people behind the counter this time, the guy I'd met on Fri. who told me that he'd call me personally when my part was ready, but never did and a young lady. Neither of them acknowledged my presence as I stood there at the counter. A few minutes passed and I didn't say a word. If I complained or reacted in anyway, it would justify their negative attitudes and I wasn't going to play that game. Eventually, the girl without looking up asked "Can I help you?" I gave her my work order# and she told me someone would bring the part to the gate outside. I said "Ok", took my receipt and left. Not a lot of joy in that interaction. About 15min later, a man on a forklift rolled over to "my car" (mr.Fireman's) which had the trunk opened and we picked up the "new" transfer case off the forklift pallet and placed it in the trunk beside the old one -they barely fit, but I carefully compared them and they looked the same. On the way home I picked up some new spark plugs, a fuel filter and a couple of socket adapters that would make putting the new plugs in a little easier. What else can a person do, but take a deep breath and keep moving forward? The 2nd Agreement is "Don't take anything personal."
June 26, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
Things got pretty bad this week to the point that I actually wrote a note, but I'm on the other side of it, now. It turned out that the truck was not operable enough to drive on the road, at all, and I came to a decision that I wasn't going to put anymore time, energy or money into it. I've fixed countless cars, trucks, tractors, motorcycles, boats, etc. over the years and anyone who fixes their own stuff knows how extremely satisfying it is to overcome a setback with their own hands and perseverance, but this type of person, also, has to factor in whether something is worth fixing. Anything can be fixed no matter how broken it is. It's just a matter of how much of one's resources, time, effort and money, is it worth.
Unable to drive anywhere, I ran out of food and hadn't eaten in a day, but I was completely calm and clear-headed. Hunger feelings came and went. It's more mental than physical, at first, so I just tuned it out in order to assess my situation. I recently realized that I haven't been as transparent as I usually am when writing here. This is supposed to be my journal which is intended to provide me, or any person who keeps a journal, with a nonjudgmental place to voice anything and everything I'm thinking or feeling, but because I benefit so much from this process, despite the fact that it's not ideal and I'd much rather talk to a person, I have to catch myself if I start using this as something else like an independent work of literature, as laughable as that sounds. I'm not saying it's worthy of being a work of literature. I'm saying if I'm not diligent I can slip into taking the perspective that it is which makes me want to always be positive and useful rather than just brutally honest. It's supposed to be somewhere I can dump whatever in the world I might be going through regardless of how it sounds.
As I've mentioned time and time, again, the number one obstacle I'm constantly battling is loneliness, but because things on the outside improved recently like it being summer therefore I'm not freezing my ass off everyday and I've sold enough stuff (including the coop!) so that I'm not stressed out about money that I didn't want to ruin how this appears by reiterating that nothing on the in my life has changed much. Yes, the weather and not being paralyzed by a financial lack of resources, i.e. being broke all the time, allowed me to let out a giant sigh of relief regarding my day to day, hour to hour, existence when it comes to the basics like having enough food to eat, gas in the truck, a roof over my head and money to pay my minimal bills (auto insurance and a cell phone), but after the honeymoon of this relief subsides, the world is still getting more messed up and I'm still completely alone trying live in a way that doesn't contribute to this, even if just in my tiny little world.
So much of pain is mental, but in our high-tech culture much of the world we live in is, also, mental so the pain seems as real as death and taxes (one of these things being absolutely inevitable and the other being absolutely b.s.). So ya, I still wake up every morning falling into an abyss of nothingness. Not being able to use my truck for over a week added to this isolation. I'm done asking my friends for help. It's humiliating, not because there's anything wrong with asking for help. There isn't. Asking for help from people who don't play by the same rules as me is what's extremely soul crushing. I love my friends, but they belong to the "everything is fine club" and I belong to the "everything is f*cked club" and we have never once acknowledged this, let alone discussed it. Granted, this is an oversimplification. They don't believe that 100% of everything is fine and I don't believe that 100% of everything is fubared, but if our entire population where divided into two groups, one going along with how things are and the other refusing to go along with how things are, we'd definitely be in opposite groups. So I've stopped talking to them. I can't just keep pretending for their sake that everything is fine just because I don't want to make anyone feel uncomfortable or because I'm afraid that I'll lose them as friends if I'm too real with them. If I'm afraid to talk about what I think or how I feel then it's not a healthy friendship, but "beggars can't be choosers." However, in this case, a beggar does have a choice. Fail on my own terms or succeed by asking for help that will only perpetuate the problem. I've gone to deliberate measures to keep other people's personal lives out of this blog because I don't think I should write about anyone else's life, but my own. I respect people's privacy a great deal. It's my choice to write about my life. They haven't made this choice and they haven't made the choice to live like I have so they may never understand what it's like and I'm a fool to expect them to.
When I rolled down the hill and coasted into the small park by the ocean, the sight overwhelmed me. There was no wind and not a cloud in the sky. Duxbury Bay looked like a calm lake. My immediate impulse, other than going for a swim which I did do a few minutes later, was the imposing thought that I cannot sell the sailboat. How could I? I should be out there on the water, right now. This was my initial reaction, but I may have to sell it. I didn't want to sell my bike, last winter, or my car, but I had to. Right now, the raised bed boxes are selling slow. The price of lumber has gotten so high that charging what it takes to build one is more than a lot of people are willing to pay. This reveals a bigger problem regarding what's been going on in our economy for a very long time. It's only being amplified even more by what's going on, now. I'll cross the bridge of liquidating everything when I come to it. At that moment, I was basking in the sun and enjoying the comfort of being in such a beautiful place. The beach was quiet for a Saturday. I'd never been to this one before. I grew up a few towns up the coast from here. Maybe it's not that popular because there's so many other beaches in this part of the south shore. A big part of what created the euphoria of the moment was that I got there by human power, not a machine.
Despite the hunger, I was working on coming up with a plan to find some sense of direction whether mental or physical. I tried to take trails to leave the property on foot rather than walk past my neighbors none of whom I know. They probably already think I'm a weirdo for living in the woods like I do. I shouldn't care. I know I'm not, but when you're on your own in the world what other people think or say has more of an effect than it should, hence trying to make a change. In all my miles and years of walking, the one thing I hated most was when punks would drive by and yell stuff at me. It didn't happen a lot, but it really pissed me off when it did. It's such a cowardly thing to do. I remember once I actually caught up with three of them. They had stopped at a gas station not long after passing me while yelling something stupid attempting to scare me and then there they were parked at one of the pumps in their little sh*tbox car. I just laughed as I went over to them. You should've seen their faces as I circled the car with them sitting inside with the windows rolled up not knowing what to do. "What, you're not going to get out? Don't you need to get gas?" I said as I looked in the windows. Then, my anger subsided and I realized they were just scared little cowards and not even worth it so I continued on my way. That's the one thing about traveling on foot. I really enjoy it and carrying 60lbs on my back everyday keeps me in pretty good shape, but there is a vulnerable aspect on busy roads when cars are driving by so fast only a few inches away. This is why I prefer walking on quiet country roads or trails. I used to walk along railroad tracks, but it's illegal. Those were my favorite because they were so peaceful surrounded by woods, except on the rare occasion when a train went by, and they were more direct than winding country roads. I've ridden bikes plenty. One year, my travels took me to Astoria, OR where I purchased only a bicycle to see if I could live without a vehicle. I ended up picking up a kayak, as well, because the little city is at the mouth of the giant Columbia River with many smaller rivers surrounding it. They were my only two modes of transportation. I still had my big dog, at the time, and he loved it. The transient lifestyle comes natural to a dog. He loved being on the water and I had a bike trailer that he could jump in whenever there was a lot of traffic or when I was bombing down a hill and it would have been unfair to expect him to keep up. On the other hand, I'd give him the boot when I'd encounter a really steep hill that I had to pedal up which there were plenty of in Astoria. It was like a mini-San Francisco and he weighed 90lbs. Too much unnecessary cargo.
Taking the bike instead of walking, today, unexpectedly gave me the clarity I was looking for. Arriving at the beach, going for a swim and lying in the sun was my reward. I still hadn't even eaten a meal. I didn't need one. I felt too good. Ok, I did grab an ice cream bar at the gas station before I turned off rte.3A down the small side street that brought me through a neighborhood where this little park was tucked in by the ocean. What I realized getting there was that even though I prefer to walk, riding a bike on busy roads feels a lot less vulnerable than walking because I can often keep up with traffic and zig-zag away from it when I need to, not to mention cover a lot more distance on wheels. This gave me an idea.
July 5, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
Before hitting the road with human power, I decided that it would be prudent to revisit the land and friend I have in VT to compare the two very different options, continue to fly solo or join forces with people who want something similar to what I want. In my defense of even considering to remain solo when all I've been saying for as long as I can remember that I need to stop spending so much time alone, one major purpose of hitting the road, this time, would be to find a place where like-minded people are farming and living off the grid. I've had many offers in the past when my head was stuck sufficiently up my butt still believing my immediate purpose for traveling was something other than meeting people and finding a place to call home. It was like I had to accomplish something else in order to be worthy of their invitations so I was always preoccupied with some personal goal that made me unable to accept the opportunities right in front of me. This time would be different. This, now, is the purpose. Traveling especially on foot or, in this case, with a bike, has a unique way of creating opportunities to meet the right kind of people more so than any other mode of communication, even looking online which is how I met the folks in VT. How do you think people met before the internet existed? Another benefit of traveling so light is that it minimizes a person's needs even more than living out of a vehicle does. Less needs. More freedom.
As I stepped onto the small porch of the cabin, I could see through the screen door that someone was lying on the couch in the living room under a blanket on this sunny summer day. It was a little after noon, an odd time, to me, for someone to be sleeping. I had texted my friend who owns the property the night before to let her know that I was heading that way, but there's no cell reception on the mountain so she didn't respond until I was about an hour away, this morning. She was off the property heading to a doctor's appointment in a larger nearby town. Her friend, the guy who I was interested in meeting, was the person on the couch. I'd asked her for his number, earlier, so I could text him, as well, to let him know I'd be arriving around noon. He and I knew a lot about one another through her and we were, both, eager to meet so it was not coming as a surprise that I'd finally made it back up there. He'd arrived in late February. He hadn't gotten my text so I apologized for interrupting his nap, but he said it was fine. He wasn't really sleeping. Just relaxing.
I'm back down in Mass, now. I sold an extra boat trailer that I had, yesterday, and received an order for 6 raised bed boxes while I was up in VT. I, already, have one built and for sale online, but this lady would like 5 more. I don't take orders. I'm not amazon. I build things and sell them and the one I have built has been for sale for a month, but I told her I'd let her know if I decide to build anymore. Most likely, I'd require her to pay for half, now, then I'd build the rest. It's been my experience that people change their minds too easily online. I'm not going to spend $500 in materials and get stuck with 6 bed boxes if she decides she doesn't want them anymore.
It being the end of June with the farming season well underway, I've been getting anxious to get something going so I was considering renting a car to go to VT, but mr.Finance took his family to FL for a week and asked me if I'd watch their dog which he then added that I should take his truck to check out the place in VT while they were gone. I took their German short-haired pointer with me. She had a blast. The place looked the same as it did last November when I'd seen it for the first time. Not much had changed. If I'd bought 50 acres to create my dream home, there would be a lot of things different 7 months later. They told me that they've been waiting for more people to get involved before they did anything major with the land and buildings. They really want me to join them and asked me to pick out a new sawmill and tractor for her to purchase so I've been researching sawmills for the last couple days. I, already, know plenty about tractors. I have used a sawmill in the past, but I don't have a lot of experience with them so I contacted a high school buddy of mine who's a local carpenter, a very successful one, and he set up a meeting between a good friend of his who owns a sawmill and sells a lot of custom lumber and I went over to his place, this afternoon. It turned out that he only lives 2 miles from where I am. As much as I didn't want to, I drove my truck. Very slowly. It was all back roads so I just pulled over when anyone came up behind me to let them pass. He was a great guy and super helpful. He, actually, used to live in the same town in VT where I just got back from. We talked for a while. He and my high school buddy, both, built cabins and barns on a remote lake in Maine beside one another and plan to build more and invited me up there.
I have to admit that I relate a lot more with these types of guys and my other friends, mr.Fireman and mr.Finance, then I do with my new friends in VT and I'm having some apprehensions, but, yesterday, was the 4th of July and I spent it alone. I definitely wouldn't have if I was up in VT. We had more real conversations in the two days I was there then I have with my buddies down here in three years, not to mention being 4hrs north out in the country puts me at ease with the world becoming more crazy everyday. As much as I don't want to, I think I'm going to sell my truck and get a different one. Regardless of what I decide, I need to be able to move all my tools and belongings to wherever I decide I'm going to live. Even if I leave here on my bike, I want to be able to come back when the time comes, load up and be ready to relocate.
"Preparation is savior
Expectation is sin
Efficient and lonely
And never again."
July 11, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I've been getting up at 6 and riding my bike to church every morning. Church doesn't really do much for me anymore, but, at least, it's something active to start the day. It's only 5 miles away, but I need the exercise. For the first time in my life, I have a spare tire. It's not much of one. You can't even notice it when I have a t-shirt on, but it still makes me feel self-conscious. It's unacceptable and has to go. I have a little weight bench in the shop so, as much as I hate it, I've been lifting a couple times a week, too. I brought my backpack with me, this morning, and got a bunch of groceries after church before pedaling back to the property. I sort of knew that this particular church wasn't going to be a long term solution for me, but I had to something and it was better than nothing. I've investigated many religions and spiritual paths. Everything seems designed to get me to accept the way the world is and I can't do this with a clear conscience. I'm not a f*ck up, I'm not incompetent and I'm not afraid to work. I just want the work I'm doing to contribute to a solution, not make me more dependent on the problem or, even worse, exploit the problem for my own gain. For now, I'm going to keep getting organized for whatever's next. I rode my bike to lowe's, a couple days ago, and picked up a sheet of plexiglass to replace one of the small windows in the sailboat that had a crack in it. Of course, I'm going to fix a bunch of stuff on it before/if I'm going to sell it. Organized all my stuff in the bunkhouse, the other day. I'll have to pick-up a couple big plastic bins to organize the rest of my tools in the workshop.
Yesterday morning after church, I was pedaling down a quiet suburban street on my way out to the Jones River to sit by the water for a few minutes and take in the scenery. It was so nice out. Then a truck trailering a big center console (that's a style of boat) went past me and mr.Finance's teenage boys leaned out the window laughing. Then I started laughing, too. He pulled over for a minute. They were going fishing and the road I was on led straight to the boat ramp. He had just pulled the boat out of the water a few minutes earlier to trailer it to a gas station to fill it up. There's no fuel pumps at the marina where he keeps it so doing this is a lot quicker than driving the boat all the way to Plymouth Harbor and a lot cheaper. Gas prices at fuel docks are always a few dollars more than at regular gas stations so he probably saved himself $100, and a lot of time. He asked with a smile "You coming?" and I said "Sure." Turns out it was his birthday. I never made it home. We went fishing all morning then back to his house for a couple games of wiffle ball, swimming in the pool, card games, dinner, cake, ice cream and birthday cards out on the patio with his wife and daughter. Then I crashed on their giant sectional downstairs with their German short-haired after we all watched some silly reality tv shows.
There were times during the day when I got restless and felt a little unproductive, but I decided to just go with the flow and enjoy the day rather than feel like a third wheel, or, in this case, a 6th wheel. We, all, get along well. They have really good kids, 11, 15 and 17. They were psyched when I picked them up at the airport, last week, with their dog in the suv with me. It turned out to be pretty funny because mr.Finance randomly bumped into his cousins at Logan and they had accidentally lost the keys to their car so we gave them a ride home as well. Eight people, all their luggage and a dog.
As welcoming, and mutually sarcastic like myself, as his family is there's still a faint judgmental opinion lingering in the back of my mind needless to say of my own making. This isn't acceptable, either. It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago and I spent the whole day working on my truck. Mr.Finance came by that evening, when he found out, to take me out to eat, but, like an idiot, I said that I just wanted to keep working on my truck. Mr.Model and mr.Music, out in LA, called and I talked to each of them for quite a while so, at least, I had some company while I worked. I didn't mind it, but, regardless, I don't want to be an accessory to someone else's awesome life. I have my own definition of awesome and I need to manifest it. It's very different than most people's, but there's no bowing out of achieving it, now. Not in this life.
I researched sawmills for a couple of days, last week, for my friends in VT, compiled a list of suitable models, new and used, that I thought would meet their needs with a summary of their pros and cons and sent it as an email which mr.Poncho thanked me for. That's what I'm calling him because he was wearing a funky poncho when the three of us went out to Parker Pizza in Glover, VT on Friday night, two weekends ago. Four of us ended up leaving there when we headed back to the cabin on the mountain after the live music had ended. We acquired a new friend, who we'll call ms.Hummingbird because she really likes those little birds, while we were enjoying the pizza and tunes at the picnic tables outside. After I got a text from mr.Poncho regarding a tractor he wanted my thoughts on, yesterday, I decided I should check in with them regarding the fact that I've decided to pump the brakes on trying to get back up there asap. I still gave him my thoughts on the tractor which looked like a good one, but the guy was asking a little more than it was worth. Mr.Poncho said he understood completely and I told him I'd keep in touch.
I ordered a bike trailer and a small wheel chair battery with my phone, last night, lying on the couch in the dark. They'll get here in a couple days. Mr.Finance had 60 yards of loam delivered to the property, today, to plant some late season crops in and he's on the verge of buying a tractor, any moment. I think the possibility of me going to VT and helping them buy equipment has lit a fire under his ass a little. He doesn't like the idea of me working for them for free. They're super nice people and they mean well, but I agree with him a little. I'd have to get a part-time job somewhere locally on top of all the hours that the land and buildings are going to require up there. I don't think she's had a job in over a decade, but lives quite comfortably. Neither of them work. She gets a regular check from an injury she received while teaching years ago so she's paying for the both of them to live. I'm not judging them, but I don't relate to this type of arrangement. I'm sure I could've collected unemployment after I broke my ribs, last year, until I was healed enough to go back to work, but I didn't. That's just not me so I sold a bunch of stuff instead. We can't fix a system if we're continually taking hand outs from it. Everyone needs to make their own choices. We're, all, responsible for what we're aware of. I just can't turn a blind eye to what I know isn't sound. I, also, can't keep living like this. That's the part that mr.Finance and mr.Fireman don't get. They don't know how bad it gets for me. It seems like they can't "go there", but I live "there". I'm sure it's hard for them to see, or for any of my buddies, because when we're hanging out I seem fine. Don't ask, don't tell is the motto in much of this world, but just because someone seems fine doesn't mean that they are, unless you ask. I instantly snap out of the emptiness when I'm around my friends for those random short periods of time, but they don't know what it's like when I'm not around them which is most of the time. I, actually, believe that they think all a person needs is a good paying job and everything else will take care of itself. I've had countless good paying jobs, but they, all, came at a price that maybe my friends don't see or have accepted. I don't know. Like I said, we never talk. Out of sight, out of mind is not a solution, at least, not for me.
July 11, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
Picked up a couple big storage bins and packed up my tools in the shop. Taught myself how to tune up the gears on my new-ish mountain bike. It's not as nice as my last bike, but it's decent and more importantly, it gets the job done. It shifts a lot smoother, now, which makes me look forward to using it more. Gave myself a haircut using clippers that I plug into the portable power inverter that plugs into the cigarette lighter in my truck then took a bath. I feel great. I'm still uncertain on what's next, but I'm looking forward to stretching my legs out on the road. My friend in VT called, yesterday afternoon, to make sure there wasn't any misunderstanding that caused me to postpone moving up there, but there wasn't. We had a good talk. She even offered to come get me if I don't buy a "new" truck. I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Maybe I'll ride my bike to VT instead of clear across America. We'll see. There's beautiful places in almost any direction from here so I've got plenty of choices. More than anything, I'm looking forward to getting out in the country where it's quieter and people are judged more by what they believe and less by what they drive...or ride.
July 18, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
A guy I met through church texted me at 6am on Thursday morning asking me for some "help" with work. I knew that he did construction and I, also, know that trying to time jobs so that you're finishing one job just before you start another one is not easy so I told him that I'd give him a couple days to help get him caught up. Everyone's definition of help is different. Turns out he's a GC (general contractor) which means he gets other guys to do work for him and charges customers a higher amount so that he makes money off the guys doing the work. Not my kind of "help", not to mention I gave him friend rates so he was getting me at a bargain price. More money for him. When am I going to learn? All the places I worked were really nice homes and the juxtaposition with how I live was something for me to reconcile. I gave him 3 days on 3 different jobs, put a few bucks in my pocket and helped him out which he said he really appreciated. He was hoping I'd stick around and work for him some more, but I told him that I was leaving the area. How ridiculous our first world economy is has become more and more obvious and harder and harder to condone. You can only work a rigged game for so long before it becomes completely obvious to everyone involved what's really going on.
Had a great talk with mr.Model on the phone, last night. He's been doing real estate on the side and sold his condo in Long beach so he's been traveling a bit. Just got back from Costa Rica and, now, he's in Fort Lauderdale visiting his parents. He'll be up here in a week to visit friends and family. He's from New Bedford, Ma. We became friends in college. He's a big part of the reason I got into acting for a little while. He needed someone to play his brother in an intense Sam Shepard play, True West, that he wanted to put on at school. There was a big fight scene, at the end, and he being a football player and me being a hockey player, needless to say, it was very believable. I actually broke my nose during the last show. There was blood everywhere. It was cool. The audience was blown away. Anyways, I did that stuff for a few years then got out of it. I'd recommend everyone to try it, at least, once. It's very cathartic and therapeutic making a person look at themselves and all their insecurities which all come to light when you're on stage. A person can't look at the world accurately if their perspective is being altered too much by their own baggage. We can't work together until we work on ourselves. The experience was life changing, for me, and I took everything I learned from it with me on the road less-traveled. He's made a pretty good career out of it, along with modeling. We've lived very different lives. Don't even get me started on how much he makes compared to what I make on a farm, yet we've remained close friends all these years.
We don't talk a lot, but usually have epic 2+hr conversations when we do. He's a very spiritual person so there's lots to talk about. He's, also, thinking about buying a chunk of land to create some sort of retreat center/campground with an off the grid, sustainable theme to it. "Glamping" (camping for people who don't like to get their hands dirty) has become very popular over the past 5-10 years and he knows I can build the kind of funky yurts that he'd like to have on the land. Down the line, he'd, also, like to add a farm to table element to the venture. His parents moved to FL from up here, years ago, so I think he wants to buy the land down there somewhere. We'll see. More than anything, it was just great to talk and connect on a bunch of levels with a friend. He's the only one I've told about my little ride-about that I'm preparing for. I usually don't tell anyone about my plans, but he's going through some stuff and confided in me so I returned the favor.
July 19, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
It's hard to believe, but when I woke up, yesterday morning, I felt good for the first time in a very long time. Better than good. Like I was in heaven. Ya know, when you're dreaming, but, also, half awake so you can navigate through the dream-state more deliberately? That's what it was like. I'd met a beautiful woman and we were, both, reveling in the feeling of finding someone to love and we didn't want the moment to end (I realize she was imaginary). No, it wasn't a wet dream. Not like that. Just the euphoric high one gets when meeting someone special for the first time. The feeling lasted all morning long after I'd gotten up.
It happened, again, this morning. Not as intense, but still night and day compared to how I've been waking up for the past 10 years. I'm not someone who remembers their dreams very well or even many details only a few minutes after I wake up, but the feeling was still there and remained. She was there, too. Oh well, I'm not going to make a big deal out of it or try to read anything into it. It's just interesting. Crushed a bunch of errands and to-do lists the last couple days and the bike and trailer are ready to roll. Might go for a 2 day excursion to try things out, definitely by way of a lake. It's been crazy hot, lately.
Pedaled down to the river and jumped in, this evening. Took a round-about way back along a nature preserve then rolled into Kingston center and checked out a couple restaurants contemplating treating myself to some food. I brought a pair of jeans and changed out of my wet shorts, but it was 8:15 and the places only stay open til 9 around here so I scratched the idea and just got a cold frappacino and a cliff bar from a convenience store which hit the spot and meandered my way back to the property. It was a leisurely 12 mile trip. When I passed along the nature preserve I crossed the town line into Duxbury, Ma toying with the idea of following the coastline a little further north, but the ridiculous size of the houses and the widespread greed was too appalling to stand. At one point, loneliness kicked in and I thought about answering a text from my friend in VT from earlier this afternoon. I've been keeping my phone off a lot more lately, but turned it on to listen to some music. They were in Maine for the day visiting the ocean and going to the beach and asked me for some recommendations. Turns out they were actually in Pine Point, the first town I ever lived in when I moved to ME fresh out of college, so I had lots of places to suggest, but I'm not a big texter so I didn't keep the conversation going. Now, I was reconsidering it. I thought about how they were only about 2 hours away compared to the 4 1/2 they usually are when they're up on the mountain and how she'd offered to come get me a couple times. I could literally be among friends in a matter of hours if I wanted, friends who wanted to start a life and a whole village with me, but I pushed through the feeling and let it go, for now. That was just fear creeping in.
July 20, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
The challenge is to not rush out of here all disorganized and unprepared just because I think it's going to provide me with immediate relief from my day to day existence. There are no quick fixes in life. The only good solution is doing something correctly. In a human being's case, it means doing life correctly. In my case, it means being more thorough than throwing everything that I think I'll need in the bike trailer and riding off down the road to escape what I don't like about my life, right now. We all do this in different ways, but we can't escape ourselves. Granted, life on the road does provide more opportunities for social interaction than my present day to day life which is what makes me want to get the heck out of here, not to mention, regular exercise, being close to nature and possibly starting a new community based website which I've been thinking about doing since the last election, but once I leave making improvements and modifications to my gear will be a lot harder without all the tools I have at my disposal, right now, so I need to hold my horses. Not to mention, I feel like a wuss after reading the last couple entries.
July 21, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
Assembled my portable solar system, yesterday. It was so hot out that I spent most of the day working in the concrete workshop which is nestled under the canopy of trees beside the driveway, but, by late afternoon, I was dripping sweat even in there. Rode my bike to a little convenient store a couple miles away in the evening to grab a bag of ice to throw in the cooler. Ice cold milk in my cereal, this morning.
The solar system works pretty good. I used it, last night, to charge my tablet and phone. It's very basic, just my portable backpack solar panels, a little charge controller and a tiny wheelchair battery. That's all I need. I'll install some brackets and mounting plates to the trailer to make it look deliberate and organized. I'm, also, going to make a low profile tool box that fits into the floor of the trailer that I can then store my backpack on top of, and a cooler. I'm definitely bringing a cooler. Not the big one I use for my daily off the grid living, but I have a smaller one that I take to work with me that fits perfectly in the trailer. It takes up almost half the space, but I learned years ago that working outside in the hot sun all day there's nothing like a cold drink of water to make the conditions a lot more bearable. In my clueless younger days, I'd be drinking out of a piss warm gallon jug all day with no idea what I was missing. It's just not the same and no way near as refreshing. It's the little things that make hard work fun rather than something we have to suffer through.
Today, I remembered to close the big sliding barn door to the workshop behind me after coming in here to get stuff done. Hopefully, it'll make a difference. I love how it was pitch black in here, at first, compared to the bright morning sun, but my eyes quickly adjusted and I can see totally fine, now. I had to grab another big storage bin for the remainder of my tools so, today, I should be done getting them all organized and stored away for whenever I come back to get them.
Rode out to the ocean and jumped in, this afternoon. I needed to get groceries and it was 90 degrees so I figured I'd cool off, first, then get them on the way back. It was a good opportunity to try out the trailer which worked well. I brought the small cooler and grabbed some ice at a gas station on the way there.
July 24, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I took a break from writing the last couple of days to be sure it hadn't turned into a bad mental habit that might be keeping me in a negative mind set. I continued to work on my projects in the cool of the workshop. Keeping the door closed definitely helped keep the shop tolerable while the temperature outside climbed well pass 90, this week.
Geeky mechanical stuff: Built and installed a faring out of aluminum flashing that wraps around the inner contour of the bike trailer in anticipation of rainy days when the back tire of the mountain bike will undoubtedly spray dirt and mud all over whatever's being stored in the front of the trailer. It, also, keeps stuff from bouncing out because the trailer only had a railing, but no sides. Fabricated and installed 4 small brackets to mount the little battery to the trailer frame out of the way by the rear wheel. Had to order a different solar panel. It's basically the same as the one I have, but with higher voltage/wattage. The one I have, at the moment, is designed to charge small devices like smart phones and tablets using a USB cord, not 12 volt wheelchair batteries. It is only able to charge the battery up to about 11.5 volts which may seem pretty close to 12, but a typical "12 volt" car battery when fully charged is actually around 13.5 to 14 volts. They just call them 12 volt batteries because you gotta call 'em something. The little wheelchair is just a miniature car battery. Anyways, charging it only 3/4 full is not good for it. Not to mention, it doesn't allow me to use it to, in turn, charge other devices like my electric razor or AAA headlamp batteries which both use a standard A/C wall charger. Fabricated a more streamlined mount for the new bike pump I just bought because the one that came with it was poorly designed.
Replaced the carburetor, clutch and sprocket bearing on mr.Finance's chainsaw, this afternoon, but taking it apart and putting it back together, I noticed it, also, needs a new fuel line and filter so I'll get them, tomorrow. I don't mind working on stuff for my friends, as well as, my own. I'd like to be putting in a new rear end on my truck, but none of that will improve my situation. It only keeps me working on machines and for the machine. I've got to get out of here. Aside from those two random breaks I got last week, I'm still waking up dead inside every morning and a person can only take so much of that. Mr.Finance is in Saquish, this weekend, which is a sandy peninsula off the coast of Kingston/Plymouth, which you can only get to by boat or 4wd vehicle, staying in a cottage he rented for two weeks living it up with his family or playing golf when he's back on the mainland and I'm hanging on by a thread everyday. Seems like an absurd juxtaposition. Its not his fault. He's unaware of my situation even though he's probably the closest friend I have, at the moment. Like the old saying goes, "It takes a village" so when you don't have one, all you can do is suck it up until, hopefully, you can find yours. At this point, it's actually easier to work on stuff for other people because there's a component of social motivation attached to those projects. Where as, my projects are beginning to feel somewhat futile. I'm sure not having a vehicle and the 90+degree weather isn't helping. Wah, wah, f*cking wah.
Writing isn't keeping me stuck in a negative mind set. It's an all be it minimal way to stay productive. Even a little action is better than no action. I'm not sure I'm going to hang on long enough to build the low profile tool box for the trailer or a mini cargo rack I've been contemplating building so I can bring my guitar. Even though I customize a lot of my gear and vehicles, I've always tried to make whatever it is "storebought" rather than a duct tape special so I don't look like a mess when I'm on the road, but rather someone who knows what he's doing. In short I told myself, a long time ago, "Look like you chose to be here, not like you landed here."
My ding dong friends don't get it. They just think all I need to do is find a good job, make enough money and get back on my feet. That's not the answer! I've had plenty of jobs. Some have paid very well. Money is not the answer! Money is not even real. It's an invention that only represents the ridiculous game we've all been taught to play since birth. Now, it's played out. It's a farce. Look around. "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." People are real. This planet is real. Money isn't.
July 28, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
Mon- Road to lowe's, aubochon, autozone, and a small engine repair shop to get all the parts I needed to fix mr.Finance's chainsaw. Purrs like a kitten. Ok, maybe a mountain lion.
Tues- Road with trailer to aubochon for window screens and hose then to grocery store for food and ice.
Wed- Built and installed window screens for the bunk house. Road to mr.Finance's to pick up new backpack solar panel (there's no mailbox here on the property), jumped in pool, road back.
When I stopped at the gas station, tonight, to grab a drink and a snack about halfway back to the property, I realized something. It was around 9:30 and there's a different vibe in the air on summer nights when people are still out doing stuff, like a relaxing buzz that captures this time of year especially along the coast. I'm sure I would have felt it had I been driving my truck, but not nearly as much as I did, tonight, on my bike. You're more in the scene, part of it even, when you arrive somewhere by your own energy. Since I've been riding my bike a lot, lately, my worlds are merging. I've always sort of had two realities.
The simple one I experience traveling on foot or, in this case, with a bike and the other existence when I'm dependent on a truck, or car, living in the same place going to work living paycheck to paycheck. These two ways of living have always been separate. In fact, one supported the other. I'd stay someplace long enough to work and save up enough money to head back on the road to search for the one place I may never have to leave, nor want to.
While living the simple life on the road every experience is amplified and appreciated compared to how life is more diluted when I have to rely on a vehicle. It's diluted because it's more mental. We're in our heads more when we're driving. We act towards others in a way we would never behave in person. When there's no machine between me and my interaction with the world, everything requires more effort, but is, also, more real. I think there's only one way a person can ascertain the perfection of simply walking up to their bike leaning against a tree knowing that they guessed right regarding how much food they just bought estimating that it is all going to fit in their pack, or trailer. Seems like a pretty pedestrian occurrence, no pun intended, but it's not. It's almost euphoric. You have to experience it to realize it. Combatting the feeling of a second class citizen having to get around by bike instead of a vehicle does not go unnoticed, but despite how completely inconvenient it is to have to ride 12 miles to the hardware store and back in order to grab something I need in order to finish a project, without that major inconvenience the perfection I just mentioned cannot be experienced (nor is any exercise required, i.e. actual human energy). The more simple life is lived, the more perfection one experiences, the more we're in the moment, the less we are in our heads. The sad thing is some people prefer to live in their heads because they feel safer there rather than in the actual world where they have to deal with their fears, that is, themselves.
This is not a work of fiction. Although, names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are not the product of the author's imagination nor used in a fictitious manner, any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.